The terms of reference for the inquiry include consideration of:
- The possible funding options for the NHS for the long term, including international comparisons
- To what extent is it a realistic option to merge NHS and social care eligibility and funding as set out in the Barker Review
- Welcomes the Barker Commission's recommendation for a review of prescription charges in England
- Calls on the Government to consider the health, economic and societal evidence for extending to all long-term conditions the current medical exemptions for prescription charges
- Highlights that the system for exemptions has developed in a piecemeal way and that medical exemption criteria is outdated, having remained largely unchanged since 1968
- Draws on Prescription Charges Coalition research and individual experiences, which show that many people with long-term conditions are not collecting their medication or are rationing it because of the cost and are experiencing worse health and, in some cases, hospitalisation as a result
- Concludes that any review of prescription charges needs to take account of the potential costs and consequences of the policy and not only what may be raised by charges.