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Volume 978: debated on Monday 4 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report the total cost of all prescriptions dispensed and the actual amount of that cost borne by patients for the latest date for which figures are available and for each of the preceding five years.

Figures, relating to the family practitioner service in England, are as follows:

YearTotal costIncome from charges
£ million£ million
1978–79 (Provisional)728·724·6
YearTotal number of prescription items dispensedExempt itemsChargeable itemsContraceptive items*†
1974274,298 (100 per cent.)165,059 (60·2 percent.)109,241 (39·8 percent.)
1975281,772 (100 per cent.)171,285 (60·8 percent.)107,663 (38·2 per cent.)2,824 (1 per cent.)
1976292,638 (100 per cent.)176,671 (60·4 per cent.)110,223 (37·7 percent.)5,744 (1·9 percent.)
1977295,656 (100 per cent.)180,429 (61·0 per cent.)109,638 (37·1 percent.)5,589 (1·9 percent.)
1978307,097 (100 per cent.)187,791 (61·2 per cent.)114,251 (37·2 per cent.)5,055 (1·6 percent.)
* Prior to July 1975 doctors could only prescribe contraceptive substances on clinical grounds. These prescriptions appear under the respective exempt or chargeable categories. From July 1975 contraceptive substances became available on National Health Service prescription, dispensed free of charge
† These are estimates obtained from a sample of approximately one in 200 prescriptions dispensed in pharmacies and by appliance contractors.