Prescription charges to rise by 20p in England
The cost of prescription charges in England will rise by 20p to £7.85 from 1 April, the federal government has announced.
In other parts of the united kingdom, prescriptions are free.
The British Medical Association has previously said the present system is “unfair” and desires prescription charges to be scrapped in England.
Those exempt from charges in England include children under 16, income-related benefit claimants and pregnant women.
Free prescriptions were introduced in Wales in 2007, Northern Ireland in 2010 and Scotland in 2011.
The health minister Lord Howe said: “The govt. is investing greater than £12.5bn of additional money inside the NHS and we’re on target to save lots of £5bn over this financial year, all of that allows you to be re-directed into front-line care.
“In England, around 90% of prescription items are dispensed free.”
The government said that they had frozen the cost of prescription pre-payment certificates for an extra year. This indicates anyone who needs 14 or more prescription items in a year can get each of the prescriptions they want for a standard cost of £2 a week.
Lord Howe added: “We’ve got also increased the optical voucher values by 1% to assist eligible patients continue to get access to glasses and phone lenses.”
Neal Patel, spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said the inside track of the rise in prescription charges was “deeply disappointing”.
“Hitting patients within the pocket once they are already tormented by long-term illnesses heaps unfairness on top of illness.
“We all know from chatting with patients of working age who pay for his or her prescriptions that that cost generally is a major barrier to them getting the life-saving medicines they wish.
He added: “We’re deeply concerned that some people should make choices about their health in keeping with their ability to pay.”
Joseph Clift, policy manager on the British Heart Foundation, said that the growing financial burden of pricey prescription charges couldn’t be ignored.
“People living with heart disease, or vulnerable to the disease, have to be concentrating on recuperating and keeping well – not worrying about how they will pay for his or her next vital prescription.”