Charities call on PM to scrap prescription charges

January 25, 2010

In a letter to the prime minister seen by Healthcare Republic, the charities’ chief executives called on the prime minister to implement his promise of free prescriptions as soon as possible.

Prescription charges are a deeply unfair burden on people with long-term conditions — those who need medicines the most for day-to-day quality of life’, they said.

Patients should not be prevented by an NHS charge from accessing treatment to improve their quality of life.’

Writing in the letter as the Prescription Charges Coalition, the charities said they hoped that the government would be able to find a way to implement this policy as soon as possible.

The letter has been signed by representatives of the following charities: Androgen Insensitivity Support Group, Arthritis Care, Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, Asthma UK, Behcets Syndrome Society, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Disability Alliance, Klinefelter’s Syndrome Association, Mind, MS Society, National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease , National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, Parkinson’s Disease Society, Pernicious Anaemia Society, Rethink, Skin Care Campaign, Stroke Association and Terence Higgins Trust.


Anger over Gordon Brown’s failure to implement free prescriptions pledge

January 24, 2010

Chronically ill to protest against plan being put back until after general election

    Gordon Brown is facing a backlash from charities representing up to 15 million people with long-term health conditions after it emerged a promise to give them all free prescriptions is likely to be shelved until after the general election.

    The prime minister made the pledge to people with conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes and depression in his speech at the Labour party conference in September 2008. Instead of implementing the change for all those patients, it is now expected to be included in the party’s manifesto.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    It incenses mee that they will be free for some not for others

    July 15, 2009

    I have chronic asthma and need several inhalers, without which I could possibly die. I am a student but I still have to pay for them and it is a lot of money.  It incenses me that they will become free for some but not for others!

    Helen L Booth

    NHS prescription review postponed until autumn

    June 17, 2009

    From the Health Service Journal

    The health minister has said a delayed review into the costs of prescriptions will be published in the autumn.

    It is expected that the review headed by Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, will include a revised list of conditions exempt from payment following on from charges for cancer patients that were abolished in England in April.

    At a cost of more than £150,000 the review has covered “deliberative research, stakeholder workshops and meetings”, but “further work to ensure that proposals can be implemented smoothly and efficiently” has delayed its publication from the original summer due date.

    Despite the existing costs minister Mike O’Brien said more spending was likely as Professor Gilmore completed the review.

    The government has faced criticism for increasing the price of prescriptions up to £7.20 in April despite calls from the British Medical Association to follow examples set in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and abolish charges altogether.

    2008 NHS Drug savings virtually cover cost of making prescription charges free for everybody

    May 13, 2009

    In the last year the NHS in England has saved nearly £394 million through GP’s prescribing generic drugs for common conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and gastric problems. £278 million of that was saved on anti-cholesterol Statin drugs alone.

    This saving in one year virtually covers the cost of providing free prescription charges for patients in England, the only country in the UK which is not ending prescription charges. It’s a reminder that abolition of prescription charges is easily affordable, and only the dogmatism of the government stands in the way.

    BMA calls for NHS prescription charges to be scrapped

    March 7, 2009

    HARDWORKING people are being forced to subsidise the NHS through unfair prescription charges, according to the British Medical Association. And a Swindon GP branded the rules on paying for medicine “unfair”. The organisation is asking for prescription fees to be scrapped, following Wales and now Scotland’s lead, rather than continuing to complicate the exemptions policy. Read the rest of this entry »

    Stop double taxing the sick

    January 31, 2009

    Colin Fox has sent me this letter published in the Glasgow Herald letters page this Thursday.

    As the MSP who introduced the Bill to abolish NHS prescription charges to the Scottish Parliament in 2005 I am not in the least surprised by the 26% increase in the use of pre payment certificates reported in yesterday’s Herald.[Cut price prescription drugs policy ‘a success’ – 28th January]. Cutting the cost of certificates by 50% was always likely to highlight the extent to which the price was an inhibitor to treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

    Abolish NHS Prescription Charges – Update

    January 31, 2009

    The Wiltshire & Swindon GMB union branch has passed a resolution which will go forward to the GMB’s national conference in June. If passed there it will commit the union to campaigning for abolition of prescription charges throughout the UK.

    A similar resolution from the union UNITE’s Western Region on abolition has been passed to the union’s National Executive Committee for its consideration. Read the rest of this entry »

    Abolish prescription charges – model resolution for union conferences

    December 5, 2008

    As part of the continuing campaign for the abolition of NHS prescription charges in all of the UK we are asking trades unionists to move a resolution to their national union conferences. Below is a model resolution. Please let us know if you manage to get your union branch to pass the resolution for forwarding to your national conference. We will providea briefing for any delegates who will be moving the resolution at their conference/AGM.

    End NHS Prescription Charges in all of the UK

    This conference welcomes the campaign of Swindon TUC for abolition of NHS prescription charges in all of the UK ( ). Despite the concessions made by the government in response to the campaign by a range of organisations, some patients in England face continuation of the charges. Charges have already been abolished in Wales and are being phased out in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    It makes no sense for a shrinking number of people in only one of the four countries comprising the UK to have to continue paying the charges whilst they are abolished for everybody else.

    We believe that this injustice must be brought to an end. The (union name) will campaign for an end to charges in all of the UK. So long as they remain in place then it cannot be said that treatment in the NHS is free at the point of use.

    Government review of prescription charges

    December 5, 2008

    In October the government announced two concessions in relation to NHS prescription charges:

    • the exemption of cancer patients from charges from April of 2009 and

    • the exemption from charges for people with “long term conditions”, sometime “over the next few years”.

    The latter concession was dependent on savings in the NHS drugs budget which the government was hoping to make from negotiations with the big drugs companies. Read the rest of this entry »