HC Deb 13 February 1985 vol 73 cc214-5W
Mr. Merchant

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the last year for which figures are available, how much was spent by the National Health Service on (a) cough medicine, (b) sleeping pills, (c) appetite-suppressants, (d) vitamins, (e) tranquillisers, (f) sticking plasters, (g) false teeth, (h) aspirin, (i) free contraceptives and contraceptive counselling, (j) free eyesight tests and (k) ambulance services.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

We do not have full information in the form requested. For pharmaceutical services, the following are estimates based on a one in 200 sample of prescriptions dispensed by chemists' establishments in 1983:

Net ingredient cost to National Health Service (England)
Expectorants and cough suppressants 14,195
Hypnotics 23,913
Appetite suppressants 468
Vitamin preparations 7,374
Sedatives and tranquillisers 23,050
Plasters 1,458
Anti-inflammatory drugs other than steroids 118,529

We are not able to give corresponding estimates for expenditure in the hospital and community health services.

The cost of false teeth to the National Health Service in England is estimated at £72.2 million in 1983–84. For contraceptive services, fees paid to general medical practitioners, together with the basic ingredient cost of medicines and devices prescribed and the cost of family planning clinics are estimated at some £67 million in 1983–84.

For eyesight tests and ambulance services, the 1983–84 accounts of health authorities in England show expenditure as:

£ million
Payments to ophthalmic opticians and ophthalmic medical practitioners for testing of sight 72.2
Ambulance services 233.6

Separate figures are not available for expenditure on sight tests carried out in hospitals.