HC Deb 13 February 1961 vol 634 c913
17. Mr. G. Thomas

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what estimate he has made of the increased cost to the National Assistance Board which will arise from the 1s. per item imposed on medical prescriptions; and whether he will make a statement.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)

A little over £1 million a year.

Mr. Thomas

In view of that staggering figure, is not it perfectly clear that people who are just over the borderline for receiving National Assistance will be faced with a terrible bill for medical prescriptions due to the legislation now being considered?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

As the hon. Member is aware, the people who, as he claims, are on the borderline can apply to the National Assistance office. In fact, in case of emergency they may go in person and receive payment for the prescription charge which has been made.

Lord Balniel

Is my hon. Friend considering the suggestion that a review should be undertaken of the hardship provisions relating to the prescription charges a month or so after the new charges come into effect in order to ensure that the arrangements are working smoothly and efficiently?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I will certainly bring the hon. Gentleman's suggestion to the attention of my right hon. Friend.