FURY as pensioners face losing free NHS prescriptions: ‘Why always England?’
Ministers have announced plans to explore the option of raising the threshold for free prescriptions in England to the stage pension age, which will ultimately rise to 68. Currently people in England receive free medication when they turn 60 years old, despute residents of Scotland and Wales not having to pay any prescription charges at all. The average current prescription charge stands at £9.35 per item.
This latter option would allow people between the ages of 60 to 65 continuing to receive some form of free prescription. Those who fail to pay their NHS prescriptions are sent a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), which could see them paying more of their hard-earned cash towards their health. Anyone who gets a PCN will have to pay the original NHS prescription or dental treatment charges, including the additional penalty charge. In response to the Government’s consultation, Express.co.uk readers are expressing their anger at the possibility of pensioners no longer having access to free NHS prescriptions.
Express reader Martin Brooks, said: “The question that should be asked is why the rest of the UK get their prescriptions free (AKA taxpayer subsidised) while England has to pay?” Another user called FredFairBrother added: “How can it be fair that the Welsh and Scots get free prescriptions whilst the English have to pay?” NeilM1965 said: “The aging public who have contributed for decades in income tax and National Insurance are now being stabbed in the back.” CHiPs explained: “Around 70 percent of those living in England don’t pay prescription charges.
This is because they may end up rationing their medication due to no longer being eligible for free prescriptions through the NHS. Facilitated by Age UK, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Geriatrics Society are among the letter’s signatories. Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, explained the potential devastating impact resulting from scrapping free prescriptions. Ms Abrahams said: “The money the Government raises if it goes ahead with this proposal will be easily outweighed by the additional costs to the NHS if, as is predictable, some people fail to take their medication and become sicker, more quickly. Tens of thousands may require hospital treatment due to rationing of what they take, so this really is a bad idea that will hit people who are poor and on modest incomes hardest of all. “
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