Judy Viitanen agrees with the call by Doctors’ leaders for the government to abolish prescription charges for all patients in England. As a specialist healthcare lobbying and PR consultancy, with indepth knowledge on the issues surrounding the system of prescription charges, PRimage has long maintained that the current system is inequable and needs reviewing. PRimage have consistently lobbied and supported the well-argued case for a total abolition of prescription charges: it is an important issue that has growing public support: a BBC poll of 1,000 people last year found three quarters wanted prescriptions charges to end.
The British Medical Association (BMA) says the current system is not working and is “iniquitous” for many patients. It said the Government in England should follow the example of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and make prescriptions free for everyone. The BMA’s submission to the review calls for all remaining charges to be scrapped. And it questioned the value of expanding the list of exemptions, given the complexities involved and the fact that only 11 per cent of prescriptions currently attract a charge.
Judy has campaigned on this issue for many years – and is very aware that charging people can act as a disincentive to them taking medications necessary for their health. Community pharmacists have evidence of this on a daily basis!
A review of payments for prescriptions is ongoing with a view to extending the list of conditions currently exempt from payment.Prescriptions are free for everyone in Wales, will be free in Northern Ireland by 2010 and in Scotland by 2011. Some age groups, pregnant women, people on benefits and patients with certain conditions remain exempt from the £7.10 charge.