§ Mr. Michael
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his policy in relation to the transfer of prescribing costs from hospitals to general practitioners in those circumstances where patients attend out-patient clinics(a) on a continuing basis and (b) following treatment.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
Prescribing responsibility for an aspect of an out-patient's care lies with the doctor who has clinical responsibility for that aspect. If the hospital clinician is responsible for the particular element of a patient's care, it is his responsibility to prescribe; similarly if a GP has the clinical responsibility, he has the prescribing responsibility. The decision as to which doctor has clinical responsibility for any particular aspect of a patient's treatment at any given time is for the doctors concerned to take.
The question of costs for any particular drug should not be a factor in deciding where clinical and hence prescribing responsibility lies. There are no plans to change this policy.