§ 11. Mr. Pardoe
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will again consider the direct reimbursement to pharmacists of costs associated with the collection and delivery of prescriptions in rural areas of England and Wales.
§ Mr. Alison
I have nothing to add to my reply to the hon. Member on 26th November.—[Vol. 865, c. 72–3.]
§ Mr. Pardoe
It is now three years since the free collection of prescriptions was introduced in Scotland, two and a half years since the hon. Gentleman met the contractors' committee for England and Wales and two years since it sent him the evidence for which he asked. Does he not agree that the concept of a free health service is a total charade in areas such as Cornwall, when most of my constituents have to spend between 50p and £1 to get their prescriptions by bus?
§ Mr. Alison
The hon. Gentleman fails to recognise the difference—perhaps it is understandable in the case of his constituency—between Cornish and Scottish doctors. Cornish doctors are able to dispense prescriptions for their patients if necessary. Cornwall is renowned as an area in which friends, relatives, neighbours, local tradesmen and voluntary organisations are willing to fetch and carry for those whom they serve.
§ Mr. Fortescue
What has been the progress of the talks initiated four years ago between pharmacists and doctors about the right to dispense medicines in rural areas?