HC Deb 16 October 1995 vol 264 cc129-30W
Ms Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to remove the statutory requirement for a prescription charge to be paid for each drug contained in hormone replacement therapy preparations. [36334]

Mr. Malone

None. Where two, or more, prescribed drugs are dispensed, a prescription charge is payable for each one even though, for patient convenience or through manufacturers' packaging arrangements, they may be supplied together in a single combination pack or duo pack.

Mr. Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will conduct a review of the principal factors underlying the non-redemption rate of prescriptions issued by general practitioners; and if he will make a statement; [37047]

(2) if he will undertake a comprehensive review of the prescription system; and if he will include in such a review the option of altering pharmacists' regulations to allow individual pharmacists to offer patients the option of paying the cost price where this is less than the standard per item prescription charge. [37049]

Mr. Malone

Extensive charge exemption and remission arrangements, among the most generous in Europe, ensure that only those able to afford the national health service prescription charge are asked to pay. The scheme was last reviewed in 1993 as part of the fundamental review of health expenditure. There are no current plans for a further review, either of the scheme itself or of the reasons why patients may choose not to present prescriptions for dispensing.

Total fundholders budgets General Practitioner Fundholding (retained) Savings Management allowances
£ million £ million As a percentage of budgets set £ million As a percentage of budgets set
1991–92 400 14.5 3.7 10 2.5
1992–93 800 28.3 3.5 19 2.4
1993–94 1,800 64.2 3.5 38 2.1

Final figures for 1994–1995 are not yet available.

Mr. Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Health(i) what evaluation his Department has made of general practitioner multi-funds as purchasers of secondary health care services; [36614]

(2) what is the number of general practitioner multi-funds in the NHS by regional and nationally. [36613]

Mr. Malone

Information about multi-funds is not collected centrally. Multi-funds are administrative arrangements whereby one or more fundholders work together to share administration or purchasing expertise

Where a medicine is available only on prescription, doctors may already issue private prescriptions free of charge to NHS patients, although they are not obliged to do so. Pharmacists then set and charge patients a price for the medicine and a private dispensing fee.

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