EPB chair: Prescriptions should be free
English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley has warned that the government’s decision to increase prescription charges will leave many patients unable to pay for their medicines.
From April 1, the prescription charge will go from £8.80 to £9 per item, a rise the government said was “broadly in line with inflation.”
Calling for free prescriptions in England to follow the example of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Gidley said: “The consequences of the relentless rise in prescription charges are well-known. If you can’t afford your medicines, you become more ill, which leads to poor health and expensive and unnecessary hospital admissions.
“Every day pharmacists are asked by patients who are unable to afford all the items their prescription which ones they could 'do without.'
“Patients shouldn't have to make choices which involve rationing their medicines. No-one should be faced with a financial barrier to getting the medicines they need.
“Prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It would be much simpler to have free prescriptions in England too, because then no-one would have to worry about payment decisions affecting their health.”
The cost of a three-month and 12-month prescription payment certificate stays at £29.10 and £104 respectively. The cost of surgical bras (£29.50), abdominal or spinal support (£44.55), stock modacrylic wig (£72.80), partial human hair wig (£192.85) and full bespoke human hair wig (£282) increased.
Picture: Tom Merton (iStock)