HC Deb 21 March 1950 vol 472 cc1731-2
1. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now reached a satisfactory conclusion to his negotiations with representatives of the chemists for the speeding-up of the payment of claims made under the National Health Service scheme.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Miss Herbison)

The position varies from time to time and the Department are in constant touch with the chemists so that payments on an agreed basis may be made as quickly as is practicable.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Could the hon. Lady say whether there are many back claims still outstanding?

Miss Herbison

We find that substantial payments on account are made to each chemist promptly each month, and these are made at a rate per prescription form equal to 90 per cent. of the rate finally determined last April for the chemist concerned. I would add that this applies to the majority of chemists in Scotland.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Could I ask the hon. Lady to bear in mind that this payment by degrees bears hardly, not only on the old-established chemist, but on those established since the war, who have not the resources behind them of those who have been in business for some time.

Miss Herbison

I would be willing to accept that, but 90 per cent. is a fairly high proportion of payment. It is impossible at present, because of technical difficulties, to speed up the further payments.

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