Responding to proposals released today by think tank Reform, which include increasing prescription charges to £10 an item and increasing the cost of the annual Prescription Prepayment Certificate to £120, we issued the following comment:
“Prescription charges currently stand as a barrier between people with long-term conditions of working age and their essential medicines. Research shows that many are already struggling to pay for the medicine that will keep them well or even alive; they are being forced to make impossible decisions between paying for food, heating, rent or their medicines.
People with long-term conditions would be disproportionately affected by any increase in charges, which could have a disastrous impact on their quality of life and health outcomes, potentially resulting in significant knock-on costs to the NHS, employers and the benefits system. Current measures to protect those on low incomes are vastly inadequate. As many with a long-term condition have a reduced income, this highlights the lack of thinking behind these proposals.
The current system for prescription charges and exemptions was established in 1968 and is due for reform. However, any proposals need to be based on research of the full costs and consequences for these, often young people, who rely on medication on a daily basis throughout their lifetimes. It is clear from the evidence that already exists that increasing prescription charges is not the answer and would represent a critical additional burden for those who can ill-afford it.”
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has this news story on their website and has tweeted. Please do re-tweet in support.
We are very pleased to see that the British Medical Association remains opposed to charges and the Department of Health has restated their commitment to an NHS that is free at the point of use, with access based on need and focused on providing excellent care. However, it is clear that current prescription charges already run counter to this.
Here you'll find information about the Prescription Charges Coalition's latest activities