§ Mr. David Hunt
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he will now take steps to remedy the 498W situation whereby general practitioners are unable to provide disposable needles and/or syringes for diabetic patients under the National Health Service;
(2) what would be the estimated cost of supplying free of charge under the National Health Service disposable needles and/or syringes for, respectively, all diabetic patients and diabetic children only.
§ Dr. Owen
When there are so many competing claims on the limited resources available I do not think we would be justified in diverting the necessary expenditure to make disposable syringes and/or needles generally available to all diabetic patients, and it is not easy to devise satisfactory arrangements for restricting them to children only. In those few cases where disposable and/or syringes are essential, they can be supplied through hospitals.
The additional cost of making these items available on prescription in England would be about:
(a) to all diabetic patients £ million syinges 1.5 needles 0.85 £ million (b) to all diabetic children syringes 0.15 needles 0.09