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Prescriptions

Volume 14: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many prescriptions were dispensed in 1980 which provided drugs or other medicinal requirements of a value lower than the charge imposed.

Information was not collected in this form before October 1980. In the last three months of 1980 approximately 2·25 million prescriptions were dispensed at a total cost to the National Health Service of less than the prescription charge imposed.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report the revenue derived from prescription charges as against the actual cost of drugs dispensed for each of the last 10 years; if he will give an estimate of both for the next two years incorporating the increase in prescription charges, as announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and, in each year, if he will show revenue as a proportion of actual cost in percentage terms.

The information in the following table relates to actual expenditure and receipts in each year:

Year ended 31 MarchExpenditure on Drugs etc. (including fees and allowancesCharges incomeCharges income as a percentage of total cost
£ million£ millionPercentage
1972198·920·210·1
1973225·622·810·1
1974249·123·89·5
1975300·123·37·8
1976389·722·95·9
1977482·723·34·8
1978599·123·53·9
Year ended 31 MarchExpenditure on Drugs etc. (including fees and allowancesCharges incomeCharges income as a percentage of total cost
£ million£ millionPercentage
1979709·224·43·4
1980800·638·94·9
1981983·071·27·2
1982*1,135–088·07·7
1983*1,235–0105·08·5
* Estimate.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average total cost of (a) a prescription, (b) routine dental treatment and (c) a pair of National Health Service spectacle lenses; and how much the maximum charge for each will be as a result of the measures outlined by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 2 December.

The information is as follows:

Estimated average cost in 1981–82Maximum charge from 1 April 1982
A prescription£3.50£1.30
A course of routine dental treatment£11.00£13.00
A pair of NHS spectacle lenses (including dispensing fee)£12.70£30.00