§ 38. Mr. George Jeger
asked the Minister of Health, in view of the difficulties of National Health Service doctors in resisting the demands of patients for prescriptions for medicinal preparations advertised direct to the public, what steps he proposes to take to deal with this matter.
§ Mr. Bevan
Yes, Sir. Responsibility for prescribing should rest solely on the judgment of the doctor. Sir Henry Cohen's Committee on Prescribing therefore recommended that publicly advertised preparations should not be prescribed under the National Health Service. This recommendation has been sent to all doctors, who have been asked to observe it, and any doctor who refuses importunate demands has my full support.
§ Mr. Jeger
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a section of the medical profession that has been organised to collect funds to resist the Health Service; and would he appeal to them to divert these funds towards the education of the medical profession in the direction which he has just outlined?
§ Mr. Bevan
From the preliminary information at our disposal, I believe that the recommendation of the Sir Henry Cohen's Committee is being carried out generally. I would not like to believe that the doctors require any further education, but if they do require it, we shall, of course, consider what we have to do.
§ Mr. Henry Strauss
Is it a fact that, so far, less than 1 per cent. of prescriptions have been for nationally advertised medicines?
§ Mrs. Jean Mann
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many doctors are greatly perturbed at the wide latitude allowed to them for over-prescribing, and that many are protesting and asking that the old procedure, whereby prescriptions were properly scrutinised, should be reintroduced?
§ Mr. Strauss
Could the right hon. Gentleman say what, in his opinion, is the figure, if he questions mine?