HC Deb 30 April 1956 vol 552 c20
31. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Minister of Health whether a decision has yet been arrived at in connection with the claims of dispensing chemists for increased remuneration for dispensing under the National Health Service.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

Not yet, Sir.

Mr. Hughes

Is not it the case that, in spite of the answer which the Minister gave me a month ago that there was no delay in these negotiations, there has been considerable delay and that the original claim was made in April, 1952? Is not it true that this delay is sapping the confidence of this very important class of workers in the National Health Service? Can nothing be done to expedite a settlement of the matter?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

The claim made in 1952 was not supported by sufficient facts to afford any basis for negotiation. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will be aware that the Public Accounts Committee has several times drawn attention to the fact that any claim by professional bodies of this nature must be supported by facts which will not only satisfy the Department but the Committee too. It is an issue which, perforce, we have had to bring home to the professional bodies, who have in the past put in claims based on facts insufficient to satisfy this House and the Public Accounts Committee. The claim made on 16th February this year, which does provide more information, must be taken as the starting point for the negotiations.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Might not it be a very good thing to get rid of the prescription charge, and then we might have a very different situation with regard to chemists' remuneration?

Sir H. Linstead

Can my hon. Friend say whether the negotiations are proceeding or whether there has been a hold-up?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

The discussions are now proceeding on the basis of the February application.

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