NHS Charging

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 22nd March 2005.

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Photo of John Reid John Reid Secretary of State, Department of Health, The Secretary of State for Health 11:30 am, 22nd March 2005

Yes, I can explain that to the hon. Lady. There are express provisions in the 1946 Act and the 1977 amendment for certain charges such as prescription charges, dental charges and the recovery of compensation not from the patient but from those who have been negligent, as a result of which the patient has suffered injury. However, charges for basic operations are expressly prohibited under the law. Therefore, it is not legal to charge £7,550, for instance, for a knee replacement, or £3,800 for a hysterectomy. That is contrary to the basic founding principle of the national health service. If I can be courteous to her, since I believe that this may be her last Health questions, may I say how much we have enjoyed her contributions at Health questions over the years?