Clause 7. — (Removal of Hardships.)

Part of Orders of the Day — National Health Service (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th December 1949.

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Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale 12:00 am, 9th December 1949

Let us look at the actual facts. It is not the National Health Service that would be making a charge to the patient. It is the National Health Service that would be saying to the patient: "Where a doctor has given you a prescription that costs more than a shilling, the National Health Service will pay the cost above a shilling, but up to the shilling you will pay." We could quite as easily restrict the new service in another direction.

Nor it is true to say, as the right hon. and gallant Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) said, that we are putting the National Health Service contributor in a worse position than he has been in since the beginning of the National Health Service Act. That is not true. What is actually happening at the present time is that the National Health Service is giving him a far wider range of services than he had under the National Health Insurance Act; therefore, even if this were imposed, what would be left to the National Health contributor would be a far wider range of service than was ever available before.

What is true is that in certain cases where the National Insurance contributor is having his bottle of medicine free, he will now have to pay up to 1s. for it. All the rest of the service which he gets is infinitely more valuable than that "bob," and he will have a far greater service than before. If he had to choose between the two, ask him which he would prefer.

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