§ 37. Mrs. Castle
asked the Minister of Health whether he will arrange for portable oxygen apparatus to be supplied under the National Health Service to sufferers from emphysema and other breathing troubles who need the apparatus in order to enable them to take up employment.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Edith Pitt)
Arrangements already exist for the supply of this apparatus on loan to patients for whom their consultant considers it advisable.
§ Mrs. Castle
Could the hon. Lady tell me whether we are to understand her answer as meaning that in existing cases where the doctor has already prescribed oxygen apparatus for the use of a patient, but which apparatus is in a large non-portable form, the doctor will now prescribe this portable apparatus in its place?
§ Miss Pitt
If by "doctor" the hon. Lady means a general practitioner, I must remind her that it is not for the general practitioner to prescribe, as I said in my answer. It must be on the recommendation of a consultant. If there is a particular difficulty in a consultant's case and portable apparatus is not available, I shall be glad to look into the matter for the hon. Lady.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the hon. Lady aware that doctors do prescribe this oxygen apparatus on their own authority but it happens to be in a large cylinder? If they are entitled to prescribe the use of large cylinder oxygen apparatus, why cannot they substitute for that apparatus the portable apparatus that would enable people to work?