HC Deb 23 January 1967 vol 739 cc961-2
30. Mr. Pym

asked the Minister of Health whether he will ensure that the right of doctors with rural practices to dispense medicines direct to patients will not be affected by any new arrangements he proposes to make.

Mr. K. Robinson

This right exists only in relation to patients living more than a mile from a chemist in rural areas or satisfying the Executive Council that they would have serious difficulty in getting to a chemist, who request their doctors to dispense for them. The intention is that doctors should still be able to dispense medicines for patients who would otherwise have serious difficulty in obtaining them from a chemist because of distance or inadequacy of communications.

Mr. Pym

Does that reply mean that the arrangement for the future will remain exactly as it is now, or is the Minister saying that he will make it more difficult for some patients in the countryside?

Mr. Robinson

The net result will not make it more difficult for patients living in the countryside. Discussions with representatives of the medical and pharmaceutical professions on the introduction of the changes are currently in progress.