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National Health Insurance

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1922

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Medicines And Appliances

44.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the distinction made as regards the prescription of necessary medicines and appliances between insurance practitioners in country and metropolitan areas; whether he is aware that the former, who have their prescriptions periodically checked by the committee, are liable to be surcharged for expensive drugs and appliances that would be regarded as necessary in the case of private patients, and that in the metropolitan areas fixed sums are granted, also periodically, to the local group of practitioners, and that any surplus at the end of such periods is regarded as the perquisite of the insurance practitioners concerned, and is so divided between them; and whether, seeing that under either method the interests of the panel patients must suffer, he will consider some method of remedying this state of affairs?

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. There is no difference between the arrangements in force in London and in the provinces.

Panel Doctors

54.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that it is the practice of panel doctors in certain parts of London to lock up their surgeries after a certain hour and depart to other districts, and thus to be inaccessible to patients requiring immediate attention; if this practice is in accordance with the terms of their agreement under the National Insurance Act; and if he proposes to take any action in the matter?

My attention has been called to certain cases of this kind, and I am having further inquiry made. Such practice would not be regarded as complying with the terms of service of insurance practitioners.