§ Mr. Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer of 11 May 1992,Official Report, column 31, what is her estimate for what proportion of prescriptions, for which a prescription charge is paid, the cost of the item to the NHS will be less than the prescription charge under the prescription charge levels for 1993–94 announced on 16 March.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
The flat-rate prescription charge is an amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable for those who can afford to do so to contribute towards the cost of national health service pharmaceutical496W services. It is not, and never has been, directly related either to the particular item prescribed or to the actual cost to the NHS of dispensing it. About 80 per cent. of prescribed items dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors are free of charge. For 1993–94 it is estimated that some 35 per cent. of chargeable items will cost the NHS less than the new charge of £4.25 announced on Tuesday 2 March.