§ 20. Mr. Dempsey
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the high cost of diabetic foods, he will bring them within the National Health Service, with a view to supplying such foods to diabetics at reduced prices.
Will not the Minister tell the House the principles on which he Acts? How does he select the industries which deserve, and are to get, some of these grants? Does he realise that in Aberdeen, and in the north of Scotland generally, there are many industries which offer to produce goods for export and to absorb some of the many unemployed in that region? Will he give the House some indication of his principles?
§ Following are the details:
§ view of the fact that a jar of diabetic jam costs a diabetic 5s. and a bar of chocolate 2s.? Is not that an exorbitant price for these people to pay when many of them are unable to walk, some can walk only intermittently and others are in the pensioner class? Is it not about time that the Secretary of State did something to solve this problem?
§ Mr. Noble
The hon. Gentleman will realise that to alter the National Health Service in this respect would be to go very much wider than dealing with the 207 problem of diabetics. I realise that there are hardship cases, and the National Assistance Board is most ready to try to help where this is needed.
§ 21. Mr. Dempsey
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that retirement pensioners who are diabetics and who require insulin, hypodermic needles, surgical spirits and cotton wool, pay eight shillings prescription charges; and if he will abolish these charges.
§ Mr. Dempsey
Is the Minister aware that in some cases as many as seven items are prescribed, at a cost to the pensioner of 14s.? Is not that an extortionate proportion to take from the retirement pension of an old soul? Will he bear in mind that the National Assistance Board assists only in marginal cases and not in the millions of cases involving people above the marginal line, and will he please do something about it?
§ Mr. Woodburn
Is the Secretary of State aware that pharmaceutical chemists report that there are a large number of people who have to do without certain items on prescriptions given to them by doctors, because they cannot afford to pay for all the items? Is he aware that they ask chemists what items they can do without in order to cut the cost of the prescription to fit their purse instead of to fit their illness? Is not this a disgraceful way to treat people?