§ Ms Kelly
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the annual cost of prescription fraud in Bolton, West; 
(2) what measures Bolton NHS Trust has taken to tackle prescription fraud; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the savings which will be made in Bolton West due to the proposed measures to tackle prescription fraud. 
§ Mr. Milburn
The report of the Efficiency Scrutiny into Prescription Fraud, which was published last month, estimated levels of prescription fraud in England and Wales as £85 million to £115 million per year. It is estimated that the loss of revenue from patient charge evasion in Bolton Family Health Services Authorities in 1995–96 was approximately £0.1 million. We are not able to estimate the level of other forms of prescription fraud for the period.
While we are in the process of implementing a number of measures aimed at reducing the level of prescription fraud as well as improving its detection, it is impossible to estimate the amount of savings that will result in particular health authorities.
Guidance on the secure handling of prescriptions has been issued to all hospitals. We do not hold centrally information on the measures being taken by Bolton National Health Service Trust to tackle prescription fraud, but my hon. Friend may wish to contact the chairman of the Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust, Mrs. Peacock, Royal Bolton Hospital, Minerva Road, Farnworth, Bolton BL4 OJR.