§ 37. Mr. BOOTH
asked the Comptroller of the Household, as representing the National Health Insurance Commissioners, if the Commissioners have asked the London Insurance Committee to administer the new drug tariff for 1916; whether the committee on Thursday declined to receive a report that they should do so; whether a special committee has been appointed to examine further the Commissioners' proposal; if he can see his way to modify the scheme so as to avoid an in crease of staff; and is he aware that it is estimated that at least £4,000 additional yearly cost will fall upon London to carry out the larger part of the Commissioners' proposals?
§ The COMPTROLLER of the HOUSEHOLD (Mr. Charles Roberts)
The duty of pricing prescriptions has been transferred to insurance committees by Regu- 198 lations recently framed in accordance with the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on the Drug Tariff, and it is the statutory duty of committees to make administrative provision for the purpose of calculating the payments due to chemists under the agreements already entered into for 1916. The Commissioners have been in communication with the Committee as to the arrangements necessitated by this duty, which they understand are in course of preparation by the Committee. Committees have already been informed that special provision will be made for meeting any additional expenditure properly incurred by them on this work out of sums released in consequence of the new tariff arrangements. Any such estimate as is suggested of the additional cost involved would appear, however, to be greatly in excess of any reasonable anticipation.
§ Mr. BOOTH
Is my hon. Friend aware that this estimate was formed in conjunction with his own officers and staff, and that pressure is being brought to bear upon the London Committee to employ girls fresh from school in cellars in Chancery Lane to read thousands of Latin prescriptions, and does he agree that this should be done in artificial light?
§ Mr. ROBERTS
I have not received any communication from the London Insurance Committee on that point. Perhaps, if it is desired, the Committee will bring these points to our attention.