§ 71. Mr. Blenkinsop
asked the Minister of Health what financial saving he now estimates will result from the charge for prescriptions; how much of this saving will result from a fall in the number and cost of prescriptions; and how the savings compare with the estimate given at the time of the introduction of the Health Service Act. 1952.
§ Mr, Iain Macleod
The estimated amount of the prescription charges paid or to be paid in 1952–53 by patients in England and Wales is about £5 million. The number of prescriptions dispensed during the year is not now expected to be less than in 1951–52; this is due to the abnormal rise in the number issued due to the recent fogs and the influenza230W epidemic. The average cost per prescription is this year continuing the upward trend of previous years.
On the assumption that the charges would operate for a full year and that the number of prescriptions dispensed in 1952–53 would be 10 per cent. fewer than in 1951–52, it was originally estimated that patients' payments in 1952–53 would amount to £6.8 million, and that the further saving due to a reduction in the number of prescriptions would be £3.9 million.