HC Deb 26 October 1993 vol 230 cc602-3W
27. Mr. Couchman

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to improve the provision of information on health matters for patients.

Dr. Mawhinney

The Government are committed to improving the information available to patients and the public about the national health service and health matters. The patients charter emphasises that patients have a right to be given detailed information on local health services. The national freephone health information service was launched in January this year, providing a free and confidential service to patients on a wide range of health issues, including information on diseases, treatments, self-help groups and local services. The freephone number of HIS is 0800 66 55 44.

The Government provide £36 million per year for the funding of the Health Education Authority, which promotes a wide range of health education and advice, both directly to the public and through others. The Department also produces information on such areas as help with charges for prescriptions, optical and dental treatment and the costs of travel to hospital.