§ 41. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action is taken against doctors who habitually over-prescribe drugs.
§ Mr. Newton
Subject to the requirements of the selected list scheme a general medical practitioner is required by his terms of service to prescribe whatever drugs he considers necessary for the treatment of his patients. Nevertheless, general medical practitioners whose prescribing costs are more than 25 per cent. above the average of colleagues in their area may be visited by doctors of the Department's regional medical service. Advice is given on how to modify prescribing habits without detriment to patient care.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has powers under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to deal with cases of irresponsible prescribing of controlled drugs.172W
the adequacy of current spending. There are many factors to be taken into account. We are undertaking work on financial, population and activity data available to the Department to see if any useful results can be obtained. This work is not yet completed. It is too early to assess the results or to indicate which individual social services departments might need further scrutiny.