Abolish prescription charges

In defending their ‘reforms’ of the NHS against their critics, the current government says that the service remains “free at the point of use”, so the use of private providers does not matter. However, in reality only the emergency service and in-hospital treatment is free to everybody (see “About” and our “Briefing”).

Faced with a government policy of introducing a competitive market in which free-stading Trusts compete with each other for patients, defenders of the NHS need to challenge the government’s dogmatism which is based on the belief that competition rather than cooperation will improve the service provided by it.

The importance of the prescription charge issue is that the demand for abolition (following the progressive decisions by the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies) poses the need for a health service which is genuinely free at the point of use; one in which sick people do not have to chose which medicines to have because they cannot afford the prescription charge for each item they are prescribed.

That people who have life threatening illnesses have to pay for their treatment is a national scandal which needs exposing and challenging.

Swindon TUC believes that there should be a national campaign for abolition of prescription charges. In particular the trades unions and health workers have a special responsibility to make such a campaign a central priority.

We have produced this website to play our part in raising this issue at the national level. You can play your part by supporting our call and pressing your organisation to participate in a collective effort to press for the abolition of charges in the whole of the UK.

Martin Wicks

Secretary Swindon TUC

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