6 March 2013
Shelling out more for your medication
You will now be paying more for your regular medication, with the Government announcing a 20p increase in the charge for prescriptions in England, bringing the cost up to £7.85.
It has previously been said that the current system is unfair and that the charges should be scrapped in England. People exempt from the charges currently are children under 16, income-related benefits claimants and pregnant women. In Wales free prescriptions were introduced in 2007, Northern Ireland in 2010 and Scotland in 2011.
The health minister Lord Howe said, “The government is investing more than £12.5bn of extra money in the NHS and we are on course to save £5bn over this financial year, all of which will be re-directed into front-line care. In England, around 90% of prescription items are dispensed free.”
The Government added that they have frozen the price of pre-payment certificates for a further year. This means those needing 14 or more prescriptions a year can have all the medication they need for about £2 per week.
Neal Patel, spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said, “The news of the increase in prescription charges is deeply disappointing. Hitting patients in the pocket when they are already suffering from long-term health problems heaps unfairness on top of illness. We know
from speaking to patients of working age who pay for their prescriptions that that cost can be a major barrier to them getting the life-saving medicines they need. We are deeply concerned that some people have to make choices about their health based on their ability to pay.”
Joseph Clift, policy manager at the British Heart Foundation, said, “The growing financial burden of expensive prescription charges could not be ignored. People living with heart disease, or at risk of the disease, should be focusing on getting better and keeping well – not worrying about how they’re going to pay for their next vital prescription.”