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NHS: Low Incomes

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people participated in the NHS low income scheme in each of the last five years; how the scheme is promoted; how many patients it is estimated were entitled to assistance but did not receive it in the last 12 months; how much the scheme cost to operate in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. (125842)

The estimated number of people who have made a national health service low income scheme claim in England and the estimated cost of operating the scheme is in the table. The number of claims has been estimated from annual samples.

Estimated number of low income scheme HC1 claims for England (thousand)

Estimated direct cost per claim to operate the scheme (£)

















Prescription Pricing Division (PPD) of the NHS Business Services Authority

In addition the low income scheme provides income-related help to recipients of income support, income based jobseeker’s allowance, pension credit guarantee credit and child tax credit or working tax credit with a disability or severe disability element whose gross annual income is £15,050 or less. They do not need to make a separate HC1 claim.

No separate assessment has been made of the number of people who would have been entitled to assistance but did not make an HC1 claim during the previous 12 months.

The Prescription Pricing Division (PPD) of the NHS Business Services Authority operates the scheme in respect of England, Scotland and Wales and is responsible for publicising the scheme in England on behalf of the Department of Health. Information is provided in leaflet “HC11—Help With Health Costs” which is available from Jobcentre Plus offices and NHS hospitals. Dentists, opticians, pharmacists and doctors may also provide them. PPD produces a poster for general display and, with the National Union of Students, a poster for display in higher educational establishments. In addition, PPD has commissioned a series of advertisements which are soon to appear in popular magazines.