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Prescriptions

Volume 22: debated on Monday 19 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the investigation

When a married woman claims child benefit she is asked to name her husband on the claim form. Unless she chooses otherwise his name will appear on the child benefit order book as the alternative payee.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if it is a disciplinary offence for a civil servant in one of his Department's local offices wilfully to give false information to a claimant concerning entitlement to mandatory or discretionary benefits.

If there were evidence that an officer had wilfully given false information to a claimant concerning entitlement to mandatory or discretionary benefits consideration would be given to invoking the Department's disciplinary procedures.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many appeals by claimants against decisions to refuse a single payment were adjourned before a final decision was made by the tribunal in the year from November 1980; what was the percentage of all such appeals that adjourned in those 12 months; and how this proportion of appeals adjourned compares with the proportion adjourned in the year prior to November 1980.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many persons are currently receiving (a) supplementary benefit and (b) supplementary pension in the areas covered by the Archway (Highgate), Wood Green and Tottenham offices of his Department; and how many persons were receiving supplementary benefit and supplementary pension at the same offices in May 1979.

The information requested is as follows:which is taking place in the Mersey regional health authority area concerning alleged irregular issue of National Health Service prescriptions.

The police are investigating allegations of the irregular issue of NHS prescriptions in Sefton. I am satisfied that, in handing the matter over to the police, the Sefton family practitioner committee has acted properly, but it would not be right for me to comment further while investigations are still continuing.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest average cost to the National Health Service of the administration of a single prescription.

Administration costs associated with processing a prescription are incurred by doctors, pharmacist contractors, appliance contractors, the prescription pricing authority and the Department of Health and Social Security. These costs are not identifiable except in the case of those arising at the prescription pricing authority and the Department, but it is estimated that the total administration cost expressed as an average per single prescription was in the order of 3·5p for the financial year 1980–81.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set out the stages of the procedure whereby a prescription is processed through the National Health Service.

Once a prescription has been dispensed, the dispensing doctor, pharmacist or appliance contractor sends the prescription forms FP10, to the appropriate pricing division of the prescription pricing authority at the beginning of each calendar month.The pricing division calculates the amounts payable in respect of each prescription form. The total payments due for the month are notified to the contractor's family practitioner committee which subsequently makes the payment. The prescription forms FP10 are retained by the prescription pricing authority for auditing purposes and are normally destroyed nine months after they have been received from contractors but may be retained for a longer period where circumstances make this necessary.