Time for a change on prescription charges
This month marks 50 years since prescription charges were scrapped for people with certain conditions including cancer.
This was an important step forward, but modern medical advances mean the list is now out of date. Campaigners are now calling for the exemption to be extended to people with conditions like Parkinson’s and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
A Prescription Charges Coalition report found that 1 in 3 people with long-term conditions who pay for their prescriptions have not collected their medicines due to cost and many report missing doses to make their prescriptions last longer.
This is hardly surprising given that prescription charges have risen 26% since 2010 compared to a 10% increase in earnings.
An exemption would save people with Parkinson’s an average of £93 per year and those with IBD would save £180 a year - and would also save the NHS over £20m a year by reducing the need for hospital admissions and GP visits.
It’s not right that people are being forced to choose between paying for things like food and bills or picking up the medication that they rely on. It’s clear that exemptions would improve quality of life for millions of people across England and would save our NHS much needed cash.