§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional capital and revenue provision he has made in 1989–90 and succeeding years in the budget of the Prescription Pricing Authority for England; and what proportion of this is accounted for by the additional work for the authority arising from the White Paper "Working for Patients".
§ Mr. Freeman
The revenue allocation for the Prescription Pricing Authority for 1989–90 is £2.64 million higher than for 1988–89. The capital allocation is £0.9 million lower. Allocations for future years, including sums for work which the Prescription Pricing Authority is undertaking in respect of White Paper initiatives, have not yet been finalised.
§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he and his predecessors have taken since 1984 to identify alleged false prescriptions or overprescriptions; and what action has been taken as a result.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
Arrangements exist for the Prescription Pricing Authority to forward to family practitioner committees, for their consideration, investigation and appropriate action, prescriptions where some irregularity is suspected. No central record is kept of the action taken by family practitioner committees in these cases, or in others which may come to their attention. Since 1984 doctors of the Department's regional medical84W service have visited over 2,800 practices whose prescribing costs overall were significantly above the local average. This has led to an estimated saving of around £15,000 per practice in a full year in 1989–90.