HC Deb 12 July 1983 vol 45 cc326-7W
Mr. Gould

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consideration he has given to exempting adult sufferers from cystic fibrosis from prescription charges.

Mr. John Patten

Since taking office in 1979, we have considered several requests to include cystic fibrosis in the list of medical conditions which confer exemption from charges. While we have considerable sympathy for people suffering from this condition, we have to recognise that 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 income are also exempt. Overall some 70 per cent. of prescription items are dispensed without charge.