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School Clinics (Medicines)

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 28 April 1949

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asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that, when children are given prescriptions by a doctor at a school clinic, their parents have to pay the chemist for the medicines supplied; and, as this is contrary to the principle of the Health Service, if he will take steps to amend the regulations so as to provide that no charge shall be made.

Any medicines supplied at these clinics are provided free but if a school medical officer thinks a pupil requires a prescription he would no doubt refer him to his National Health Service doctor, who could prescribe for free supply under the service.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the case I sent him a prescription was given by the school doctor, and is it not rather a cumbersome proceeding for one doctor to have to send a child to another already overworked doctor?

No. The school medical service is grant-aided and it would be extremely difficult to operate the National Health Service in respect of this matter through the grant-aided service of the schools. It is also exceedingly undesirable for two doctors to have charge of one patient.

Is the Minister aware that these children are sent to the school clinics by the authority, and surely the doctors there are fully qualified? Is it not advisable that they should be given the same right as any other doctor to give a prescription?

The whole difficulty is to operate the National Health Service through the grant-aided medical service. Very little difficulty need be experienced by a person going to his own family doctor. My hon. Friend knows that it is the intention eventually to assimilate the therapeutical side of the school medical service into the National Health Service because of these difficulties.