The petition hand in
In June campaigners from Asthma UK, Crohn’s and Colitis UK, Motor Neurone Disease Association, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and Parkinson’s UK, took our petition to the heart of Government. Signed by almost 23,000 supporters, our petition called on the Government to scrap prescription charges for people with long-term conditions. Back in July we heard back from the Government about the petition we delivered to Downing Street.
The Health Minister, Lord O’Shaughnessy, said in his letter ‘The Government has no plans for a review of the prescription charging system in England. As you know, almost 90 per cent of prescription items are free on the NHS in England, and a broad range of prescription exemptions are in place’.
What is the issue?
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Medical Exemption List which is the list that determines who is eligible for free prescriptions. Except for the welcomed addition of cancer in 2009, it remains unchanged. This means that several conditions are not included either because they had not yet been discovered (such as HIV) or those affected by it were sadly not expected to live into adulthood. It remains grossly out of date.
We know that many people are struggling to keep up with the costs of medicine they need to keep them well. Too many people are forced to make impossible choices between heating their home, buying food, or paying for their prescriptions. We know that this has an impact on medical adherence,33% of survey respondents told us that they have not collected their prescription due to cost.
The economic case
In May 2018, the York Health Economics Consortium published new findings that showed that scrapping prescription charges for just two long-term conditions (IBD and Parkinson’s) would save the NHS over £20 million a year.
Savings came from:
The Government’s response is disappointing, but we are bolstered both by new evidence and your support- thousands of us will keep pressure on decision makers to revisit prescription charge exemptions.
As a coalition we are working hard to keep prescription charges on the public agenda. Last week, Clinical Lead for Asthma UK, Dr. Andy Whittamore, told BBC Radio 5 live how prescription charges were barriers to people accessing life-saving medication (listen from 0:38)
Support our campaign
Our campaign doesn’t end with the petition hand in. You can help us by meeting with your local MP to discuss how prescription charges affect people with long-term conditions. Download our lobby pack - a complete guide with useful information and tips on meeting with your MP.
You can also keep up to date with all of our latest campaign work by signing up to our mailing list.
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