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Monday, 29 September 2008

So are the Tories now set to scrap free prescriptions and hospital parking?

Today's Western Mail reports that the Welsh Conservatives consider free prescriptions and hospital car parking 'reckless'. It begs the question - would a Welsh Conservative Assembly Government therefore scrap them?

Nick Bourne is expected to tell the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that the Welsh Assembly Government is wasting too much of the Assembly's £15bn budget on 'freebies'.
Whilst I am all for saving finite Assembly resources, the £30m set aside for free prescriptions is just a pin-prick in the total £15bn budget. I suppose it boils down to political priorities - I understand that, but speaking as a health professional, I know that patients are now getting the medicines they need and that the stress and financial burden of paying to see sick relatives whilst in hospital has been removed.

But what really annoys me is the suggestion that patients campaigning for the latest and expensive drugs would get them if free prescriptions were scrapped. The reality is that the cost of the latest wonder drugs are set to continue with even more pressure piled on decreasing budgets.

Rather than the posturing we get from politicians perhaps there is a need for the medical profession, politicians and patients to sit down and have an open and honest discussion about what the NHS can and cannot deliver?

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