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Fears April 1 prescription price hike will mean more patients skip vital drugs

Fears April 1 prescription price hike will mean more patients skip vital drugs

 


The Prescription Charges Coalition, which is bringing together around 50 organizations and professional bodies, including the PDA, to campaign for the abolition of prescription charges in England for people with long-term conditions, says the measures will stop even more people from access to essential medications.

On 9 March 2023, Health Minister Neil OBrien announced that prescription charges would increase from 1 April 2023 to 9.65 for a single item and a three-month prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) would be 31.25 and a 12 month PPC will be 111.60. The recently introduced HRT PPC will cost 19.30.

The coalition says prescription fees are already causing patients to stop taking their medication, cut pills in half or only take some of their prescriptions because of the crippling cost of living. He argues that if patients skip their medication, it leads to further health problems which cost the NHS significantly more.

It comes after a recent survey carried out by the coalition revealed how patients are paying the price for their health conditions, leading to increases in GP visits, trips to A&E, mental health issues and hospital stays with some surveyed in the hospital for more. up to six weeks.

The survey of 4,000 patients found that one in ten skipped medication because of the cost. This has led to almost a third of them developing secondary health problems and over half taking sick days, placing a greater financial burden on employers and the NHS, which is already at breaking point.

Some serious conditions such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and colitis, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis, stroke and Parkinson’s are not yet included in the list of prescription payment exemptions. England is the only country in the UK where people have to pay for their prescriptions.

Laura Cockram, Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition and Head of Policy and Campaigns for Parkinson’s UK, said, The prescription exemption list needs urgent reform. It is failing to meet the needs of people with long-term conditions and putting their health at risk which we fear will intensify as rates rise.

The system is failing people with long-term conditions, who are forced to make difficult choices every day about whether to feed their families, pay their bills or take their medication, which as we’ve seen from our survey can keep them out of hospital.

We know that price increases will result in sick people relying more on NHS services that are already at breaking point.

Far from this government’s aim to improve life expectancy for people with stroke, dementia, asthma and mental illness, this rise in the prescription charge will create a health emergency for people with these and other long-term conditions in England. The UK Government must urgently commit to revising the prescription charge exemption list, or it will fail in its bid to create a healthier nation.

The coalition is calling on the UK government to commit to freezing charges by 2024

After recent speculation, she hopes to hear an announcement that the government plans to scrap its proposals to link prescription charges to the state pension age.

The group is also seeking information about Prescription Payment entitlements, including the Low Income Scheme and Prepayment Certificates, which are given to all those with long-term conditions when they are diagnosed with their condition.

The statute of limitations was introduced in 1952, removed in 1965 and reintroduced in 1968 with a system of exemptions that continues today. The fee itself has risen almost every year since 1979, although fees were frozen last year by the Health Secretary to recognize the impact of the cost of living.

The UK government states that 89% of prescriptions in England are currently given free of charge, but most of the income for the NHS from prescription charges comes from working-age people with long-term conditions.

While some health conditions entitle people to a medical exemption certificate and therefore free prescriptions, only a small proportion of conditions qualify.

Apart from the addition of cancer in 2009, the list of excluded conditions has not changed since 1968, although there have been significant medical advances. For example, people with childhood illnesses such as cystic fibrosis who were not expected to survive, or conditions that did not even exist at the time, such as HIV.

For more information and to register, visit the Prescription Fee Coalition Web page.

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