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

If my hon. Friend can tell me how to visit it on the doctor, I will gladly consider the position, but we must presume, until it is proved to the contrary, that it is not in the interests of the patient to have too many prescriptions. We cannot go beyond that at the moment. We do know, however, on the purely subjective side, that this proposal would have met with far greater indignation had there not been this awareness of abuse. We thought, therefore, it would give rise to easement on the general practitioner's side in the early stages of this scheme. I am not suggesting that this ought to be a permanent feature of the National Health Service.

My hon. Friends need not be apprehensive about this matter, because I am as deeply concerned with maintaining the Socialist approach to this service as any one on this side of the House. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, this is put forward only for the purpose of a temporary easement, if it be practicable, and there will then be a residual financial advantage, the extent of which no one knows, because we do not yet know what the exemptions will be. What is practically certain is that the figure of £10 million was based on the assumption that there would be no exemptions, and that any exemptions will reduce that amount, although to what extent no one knows at the moment. All I can say is that the House will have an opportunity of discussing the regulations before they are put into effect.