Joint Letter: Prescription Price Hike
Dear Secretary of State for Health & Social Care,
RE: Prescription Price Hike
We are dismayed that today (1 April) prescriptions in England rise to a new high of £9 per item, a 26% rise when compared with wages that have risen 16% since 2010.
This move by the government means that the millions of working age people in England with long-term conditions like Parkinson’s, asthma, motor neurone disease, sickle cell and multiple sclerosis must pay for living with it.
Prescriptions are free for some people with long-term conditions, for example diabetes but other long-term conditions are discriminated against, with no justification.
In 2017, research by the Prescription Charges Coalition found that one third of survey respondents in England with long-term conditions had not collected a prescription item due to cost. This shows that prescription charges are a significant barrier to people taking their prescribed medicine and staying well.
Research conducted by the York Health Economics Consortium last year identified that if prescription charges were scrapped just for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Parkinson’s the NHS could save £20 million a year. This is due to less A&E visits and hospital admissions for people living with these two conditions.
Prescriptions are free for all in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, yet the government has made no assessment on the effect of prescription charges on health outcomes in England.
Making people with long-term conditions pay for their prescriptions is also at odds with the newly released NHS Long Term Plan. The plan focuses on a prevention agenda, aiming to keep people out of hospital. We believe that keeping the charge for those with long-term conditions contradicts with this aim.
We, alongside the Prescription Charges Coalition call on the government to review the outdated prescription charge medical exemption list to include people living with long-term conditions.
Grahame Morris MP