asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he received and from whom, following the last increase in prescription charges; what plans he has to increase prescription charges in 1980–81; what plans he has to increase other charges to patients in 1980–81; and if he will list those services to patients which are currently free but which are under consideration to become fee paying.
Representations specifically about the July increase in prescription charges were received from about 50 members of the public and a number of representations on general expenditure matters also contained reference to this increase; some were received direct and others through hon. Members. The public expenditure White Paper published in November 1979—Cmnd. 7746—announced from 1 April 1980 an increase in the prescription charge to 70p, an increase in the limits on hospital costs for road traffic accident victims which can be recovered from the vehicle insurers and a revision of dental charges in line with rising costs. New scales of charges for private patients will also be introduced on that date. As has already been made clear, hotel charges for staying in hospital or new charges for visits to or from a general medical practitioner will not be introduced. I cannot further anticipate the outcome of the current review of public expenditure.