HC Deb 22 July 1964 vol 699 cc463-4
17. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total amount collected in National Health Service charges in 1963–64; and how much of this was spent on the hospital building programme.

Mr. Stodart

Excluding charges by local health authorities, the provisional total for Scotland is £4¾ million. There is no direct connection between these receipts and expenditure on the hospital building programme.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when the Bill which increased contributions, and which also laid a charge on the patient and others, was introduced and passed in 1961, the undertaking was given in the House that all that money would be spent on the hospital building programme? The figures available to us show that in fact very much more is being taken by way of contributions and charges than is being spent on the hospital building programme. Will the Under-Secretary now give the comparable figures to show whether that allegation is accurate?

Mr. Stodart

As I have said, the provisional total collected in charges is £4¾ million this year. The estimated expenditure on the hospital building programme this year is £6.3 million.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

Would my hon. Friend repeat that figure and tell the House how it compares with the year before or with some previous year?

Mr. Stodart

No, I am afraid not without notice.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the Under-Secretary ensure that the Government completely disregard the shameful suggestion of the British Medical Association that further impediments should be put in the way of patients obtaining medicaments? When this scheme was introduced, the British Medical Association advocated that patients should consult their doctors at the earliest possible moment. Will the hon. Gentleman ensure that nothing is done to impede that?

Mr. Stodart

With great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, I do not think that there is any evidence that there is any impediment.