Most NHS prescription charges in England should be scrapped and applied to ‘ineffective treatments’ instead, and NHS patients should contribute towards the cost of some routine operations, a body of leading public health experts have said. The Association of Directors of Public Health believes people should help pay for certain types of non-emergency surgery on the NHS including tonsil removal and hysterectomies. The association argues that the idea is not so radical as some NHS patients already pay for dental work and prescriptions.
The British Medical Association is currently drawing up proposals about what the NHS should be providing and will discuss the issue at its annual conference later in the year. Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee, said it was an important debate. But Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund health think tank, said: “I do not buy into these doomsday scenarios. How much extra demand is there going to be on the NHS?
With the NHS finances in meltdown and continuing concerns about waiting lists, this is clearly an important issue – and one that needs full and robust debate. Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team agree that there needs to be a fundamental review of the current NHS charging system for prescription costs, in light of the recent announcements of free prescriptions in Wales.
As a specialist healthcare PR and lobbying consultancy, PRimage will follow this debate very closely. What are your views on this? Surely the fundamental point of the NHS being free at the point of delivery needs to be in pole position during any debate or decision making on the future of NHS funding and services? We want to hear your opinion!