This meeting was as a result of a letter sent to the Secretary of State for Health by the Chairs of several All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) including Respiratory Health, Parkinson’s, Motor Neurone Disease, HIV and AIDS, Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia, and Heart Disease. APPGs are groups of MPs from all the political parties who agree to work together on certain topics they think are important. The letter asked the Secretary of State for Health to review the medical exemption list which sets out the conditions for which people do not have to pay for prescriptions.
The Prescription Charges Coalition believe this list is severely out of date and illogical. Although, when it was developed 50 years ago, it was done with input from the medical profession, a lot can change in 50 years! And we believe that people with long term conditions shouldn’t be in a position where they have to pay high costs for the life-saving medication they rely on.
Alongside Stephen McPartland MP, who chairs the Respiratory Health APPG, we conveyed out points about the unfairness of the current exemption criteria. The burden of prescription charges falls heavily on those of working age with long term conditions, and we know that many people with long term conditions struggle to pay for their prescriptions, often resulting in serious consequences.
Lord Prior took our points on board, and seemed sympathetic to the issues faced by people with long term conditions, but made no specific commitments. It’s vital that as many people as possible raise this issue with their MP so that the Government are given a clear message that they must act.