HL Deb 22 March 1984 vol 449 cc1462-3WA
Lord Diamond

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the extra cost to the National Health Service of the growing practice whereby out-patients in receipt of regular long-term prescriptions are now given only a minimal supply by the hospital and required to get the balance from their general practitioner, resulting in the use of drugs which are more expensively wrapped and which bear the added cost of the chemist's necessary margin for overheads and profit.

Lord Glenarthur

I refer the noble Lord to my Answer on 7th February to the noble Lord, Lord Winstanley (Official Report, vol. 447, col. 1135.). We have made it clear to NHS authorities that restricting hospital out-patient prescribing may increase total NHS expenditure rather than achieve economies. Any local arrangement which limits out-patient prescribing to a fixed number of weeks is acceptable, provided it follows the guidance regarding the relationship between prescribing and clinical responsibilities. The guiding factors of primary importance are the patient's welfare and convenience.

A comparison of costs between hospital dispensing and retail pharmacists' dispensing is not practicable. Statistics on the number of prescriptions dispensed in hospitals are not collected centrally and hospital accounts do not identify the cost of drugs or general overheads.