HC Deb 07 July 1983 vol 45 cc154-5W
Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now add to his list of exemptions for persons requiring medication for the rest of their lives women who have had cancer of the breast and will be permanently treated by chemo-therapy.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

I have considerable sympathy for people suffering from a condition such as breast cancer which is not included in the list of medical conditions which confer exemption from prescription charges. However, an argument could be advanced for the inclusion of a large number of conditions. In fairness, we cannot take any one in isolation and to include them all would cost the National Health Service a great deal of money. I cannot therefore agree to extend the list.

Exemption from charges is not restricted to sufferers from listed medical conditions. Such groups as the elderly and those on low incomes are also exempt. Overall, some 70 per cent. of prescription items are dispensed without charge.