asked the Minister of Defence (1) why Service doctors at stations in Great Britain and Northern Ireland are not allowed to prescribe for wives and families of Service personnel registered with them on National Health Service forms, so that their patients may be able to obtain necessary medicines from local chemists free of charge instead of having to buy them when they are not available at the station dispensary;
(2) whether he will arrange for. Service doctors at stations in Great Britain and Northern Ireland with whom the wives and families of serving personnel are registered for health service purposes to be registered as medical practitioners with the appropriate Executive Council in respect of such patients.
The participation of Service medical officers in the National Health Service would not be feasible, since the resulting division of responsibility would be bound to give rise both to administrative and disciplinary difficulties. They cannot, therefore, issue prescriptions on National Health Service forms. There is, however, no reason why dependants of Servicemen should have to pay for medicines prescribed by Service doctors, since the Service Departments themselves meet the cost if such medicines cannot be supplied by a Service dispensary. If the hon. Member will let me have details of any case in which this practice has not been followed I will certainly look into it.