§ 32 and 33. Mr. James Johnson
asked the Minister of Health (1) whether, in connection with the arrangements to abolish prescription charges for medicine, he will also take steps to abolish the charges for welfare foods such as cod liver oil, the imposition of which has led to a considerable diminution in the intake of welfare foods, with consequential ill effects on the health of children;
(2) whether, in view of the considerable reduction over recent years in the intake of welfare foods such as cod liver oil, he will now arrange for more publicity to be given to the facilities which are available in this field and to the desirability of making use of them in the interests of child health.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner) on 7th December 1964.
§ Mr. Johnson
I have not seen that. In view of the fact that a clean sweep has been made with the abolition of prescription charges, would it not be consistent to do the same with welfare foods? Would it not also be beneficial?
§ Mr. Robinson
What I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Sir B. Janner) 714 was that I propose to keep the welfare food scheme, including the question of charges and of publicity about it, under review as part of my continuing watch over the nutrition of children generally. I would prefer to keep the welfare food scheme separate from the question of prescription charges. After all, they are very different.
§ Sir Knox Cunningham
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the health of children has suffered in no way in respect of this question of welfare foods?
§ Mr. Robinson
A nutritional study of 434 pre-school children has been completed, but the results have not yet been analysed. I shall be in a better position to answer the hon. Member when I have those results.