Prescription charges to be binned

Prescription charges will still be free for all Scots, despite budget pressures, it was confirmed on Monday.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 26th October 2010, 8:27 am

The charges have been reduced over a three year period and are due to be scrapped altogether from April 2011.

Scots with long term conditions who buy annual pre-payment certificates (PPCs) have saved a total of £180 each since the reduction in costs was introduced.

The decision to abolish prescription charges by 2011 was made by the Scottish Government in December 2007.

Sign up to our daily Berwickshire News Today newsletter

Speaking earlier this week, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “I can confirm today that in April next year, as promised, prescription charges will be abolished.

“In these tough economic times we simply cannot afford to allow cost to be a barrier to those who need prescription medication.

“Healthcare should be free at the point of access for everyone - this is the founding principle of the NHS. This policy has proved to be a success year after year by helping even more patients, particularly those with long term conditions and who require the greatest number of prescription items.

“There are around 600,000 adults living in families in Scotland with an annual income of less than £16,000 who are not entitled to free prescriptions. The prescription charge is a tax on ill health that Scotland’s poorest families can ill afford.

“Some have argued that in this financial climate, we should not go ahead with our plan to abolish prescription charges. Well, times are tight and we believe that the last people who should be paying the price of the current economic mess are the sick.”

Patients who buy annual PPCs will have saved £50, £60 and £70 respectively, each year since the policy was introduced. That represents a total of £180 over the three years.

In the last financial year there were 408,000 PPC sales. This is an increase from 169,000 PPC sales in 2007-08.