Archive for September, 2008

Northern Ireland to abolish prescription charges

September 29, 2008

This is from the BBC website. This will now leave England as the only country in the UK with charges.



Plans to abolish prescription charges in Northern Ireland have been announced by NI Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.


The cost of a prescription in NI will be reduced to £3 per prescription in January 2009 and will be free of charge by April 2010. (more…)


Prescription charges – almost but not quite

September 23, 2008

A Swindon TUC Media Release

In his speech to New Labour’s conference today Gordon Brown announced that:

  • From next year cancer patients will not have to pay for prescription charges;
  • Over “the next few years” savings from the NHS drugs budget will be ploughed back into free prescriptions for people with “long term conditions”.

The first is a welcome step in relation to what has long been a national scandal, though it should not be forgotten that it has taken Brown 11 years to do it, and not without the pressure of a political crisis in which he is fighting for his survival.

The second of these promises appears conditional on the level of savings.

It should be borne in mind that the government is estimated to receives only £430 million this year from prescription charges. Recently it stumped up £50 billion for Northern Rock and even more recently £100 billion for a bunch of spivs in the city to cover their “toxic loans”.

I don’t know how much of the £430 million is comprised of prescriptions from cancer patients, but if you take away the receipts from them and people with chronic illnesses there would be barely any income left.

To maintain prescription charges for whoever might be left in England simply does not make sense. Therefore we should continue to press for abolition in England. Far from being a “gift” from Gordon, his announcement makes a nonsense of his government’s refusal to follow Scotland and Wales in abolishing prescription charges for the whole UK.


For further comment ring Martin Wicks on 07786 394593


“Why make me pay for drugs that I need to live?”

September 6, 2008

Here’s part of an email we received from one person who needs regular prescriptions.


“I was born with a blood condition and have to buy tablets to help when needed, to help clot the blood.


Also I have Asthma and have to buy, on a regular basis, my inhalers and pills to help combat this.


On top of this anything else needed within that month bought over the counter for myself and my family.


I wish I didn’t have any of these conditions but why make me pay for drugs that I need to live?


People with Diabetes don’t have to pay and some of these sufferers bought on the condition themselves through their diet. Where’s the justice in that!


My husband always asks why he pays so much tax and national insurance and yet he pays on top for my prescriptions.” 

Drugs charges are ‘national disgrace’

September 4, 2008

Doctors join call for prescription charge axe

This is from today’s Swindon Advertiser

A DOCTOR from Swindon says it is time for changes to prescription charges. Dr Peter Swinyard made the comments hot on the heels of the launch of a Swindon TUC campaign to abolish prescription charges.


Charges have already been abolished in Wales and are being phased out in Scotland.


But in England patients still have to pay for their drugs as prescriptions are only automatically free for children and people over 60. (more…)

Call for free prescription charges

September 2, 2008

This is an article from today’s Western Daily Press.

Trade union chiefs have thrown their weight behind a growing campaign to end a national inequality by abolishing NHS prescription charges throughout the UK.


Payments have already been scrapped in Wales and are being phased out in Scotland but in England some people with life-threatening illnesses still have to pay for their drugs. Now Swindon TUC has launched a website highlighting what it believes is a hugely unjust situation and is urging individuals and organisations to sign a petition. (more…)