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Monday, 6 October 2008

Finally - a warm welcome for free prescriptions!

There's been a great deal of discussion on this blog about the policy of free prescriptions. Northern Ireland’s Health Minister's now announced they are following Wales’ lead and abolishing all charges by 2010.

For those doubters, it might be worth reading some of the following quotes. I couldn’t agree more …

MICHAEL McGIMPSEY, HEALTH MINISTER - "A cradle-to-grave health service, free at the point of delivery, is the founding principle of the NHS, which was founded 60 years ago this year. It is a principle that I, and the entire population of Northern Ireland, wholeheartedly support."

IRIS ROBINSON, HEALTH COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON - "I and many of my colleagues have encountered constituents who are sometimes placed in the sad position of choosing to pay for fuel to heat their homes or drugs to help their health. No person in 21st century Northern Ireland should ever be placed in such a position."

Dr BRIAN DUNN, BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION - "This is a very positive step forward and all those patients in Northern Ireland who have found it very hard over the years to pay for their medication will welcome it - as does the BMA. It has been the association's policy, since 2002, that prescriptions should be free to everyone."

HEATHER MONTEVERDE, MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT - "Macmillan has been campaigning to have prescription charges for cancer patients abolished for a number of years. We are delighted the minister has listened to us and to all those who demanded free prescriptions."

MICHELLE O NEILL, SINN FÉIN HEALTH SPOKESPERSON - "This move is long overdue and will make the burden of those suffering illness a lot lighter. Sinn Féin had launched a campaign over a year ago to see that inequalities in health provision were removed and we support the Minister in the delivery of this project."

CARMEL HANNA, SDLP HEALTH SPOKESPERSON - "There was always something very wrong with having a tax on the sick. Unfortunately for many people they simply couldn't afford the high prescription charges for necessary drugs and so went without."

KIERAN MCCARTHY, ALLIANCE HEALTH SPOKESPERSON - "This move means that people who struggle to pay for important medicine to combat cancer and other long-term illnesses can now have some small element of peace of mind in future. "

PATRICIA GORDON, MS SOCIETY OF NORTHERN IRELAND - "The MS Society has lobbied the minister for health on a number of occasions around this issue and he has proven himself to be a man of his word. When we met him earlier this year on the issue he promised to do all that he could and this announcement is a real boost to ordinary people who have MS across Northern Ireland."

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