asked the Minister of Health if he will take steps to arrange for old-age pensioners and others, who at present have to travel to the National Assistance Board to have their prescription charges reimbursed, to obtain their prescriptions free at the time of dispensing.
No, Sir. Refunds can be obtained at a post office by anyone drawing a regular allowance from the board there. In other cases they can be obtained by post.
The Minister must know that there are some very sad cases. Would it really be so difficult to devise a system which would end all this unnecessary travel, fares, expense, worry and embarrassment? Could not, for instance, the doctor be supplied with a special prescription form which he could supply to patients on production of their National Assistance book?
I have pointed out to the hon. Member that travel to the National Assistance Board is not necessary in any event. Certainly, it would not be right or practicable to place upon the doctors the duty which rests upon the National Assistance Board. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind, I should be glad to look at it.
Is it not perfectly clear that the person receiving a prescription from the doctor and who is in receipt of National Assistance can produce a current book of payments, and would it not simplify the whole procedure if the doctor could write out a prescription exempting the patient from the need to reclaim money paid either through the Post Office or through visiting the National Assistance Board? It is really quite simple.
That is only one form of placing on the doctor what is not his job—verification of the economic position of his patient.