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Free prescriptions call

27th February 2008

A major charity has warned that thousands of patients are not bothering to collect medicines that have been prescribed for them because of the cost.


Citizens Advice has now called for prescriptions charges in England to be reviewed after the organisation polled 880 people and found that of those 2% of patients were put off by the price of prescriptions.

While that is a small percentage, Citizens Advice warns that proportion, if repeated across the whole of England, equates to about 800,000 patients.

Wales has already introduced free prescriptions while the NHS in Scotland has promised to drop the charges. However, in England the government has no plans to stop the £6.85 charged to patients who pay for their prescription. At present, people over 60, children and those on low incomes are exempt.

Citizens Advice says their poll indicates there is an urgent need for the government to review prescription charging.

Chief executive David Harker said: “It is unacceptable that people are still failing to collect prescriptions because they can’t afford it. Evidence from our bureaux shows that prescription charges can seriously damage your health and the impact is felt most severely by people on low incomes and with long-term health problems.?

He said that progress made in Wales and Scotland made strong case for abolishing prescription charges in England altogether.

The Department of Health say the charges contributed about £430m for 2006-7 to the NHS in England.

“Abolishing them would significantly reduce the money available to deliver other health priorities,? said a spokeswoman.


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Article Information

Title: Free prescriptions call
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 5791
Date Added: 27th Feb 2008


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