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Prescription charges to rise

4th March 2013

The government has said it will increase the charge for prescriptions in England by 20 pence on 1 April.

PillPacket1

The new prescription charge will be £7.85, although people on income support, pregnant women and children under 16 will not have to pay.

Lord Howe, the health minister, said: "The government is investing more than £12.5bn of extra money in the NHS and we are on course to save £5bn over this financial year, all of which will be re-directed into front-line care. In England, around 90% of prescription items are dispensed free."

He added:  "We have also increased the optical voucher values by 1% to help eligible patients continue to get access to glasses and contact lenses."

The government said they were imposing a price freeze on prescription pre-payment certificare for 12 months.

People who use the certificates need 14 or more prescription medications in a year and the price freeze means they will pay an average of £2 a week. 

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for prescription charges to be scrapped and said the current system is "unfair".

Neal Patel, spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said the increase was "deeply disappointing".

He commented: "Hitting patients in the pocket when they are already suffering from long-term health problems heaps unfairness on top of illness. We are deeply concerned that some people have to make choices about their health based on their ability to pay." 

 

 

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