To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what the total annual administrative cost was of (a) the NHS Low Income Scheme, (b) processing HC1 forms and (c) issuing HC2 or HC3 certificates in the latest period for which figures are available;
(2) what the average administrative cost was of (a) processing an HC1 form and (b) issuing an HC2 or HC3 certificate in the latest period for which figures are available.
The Prescription Pricing Division of the National Health Service Business Service Authority has advised us that the overall cost of the administration of the NHS low income scheme for England, Scotland and Wales was £3.6 million for 2006-07. In that period, the average administrative cost, from receipt of an HC1 form, through to the issuing of an HC2 or HC3 certificate was £7.65. This also included the cost of issuing HC4 letters for those claimants not entitled to help with their health costs because their capital is in excess of the upper limit and LIS08 letters to claimants already entitled to full help with health costs, for example, because they receive income support. It is not possible to break this figure down further.