The BMA Cymru Wales blog has moved

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Leave our free prescriptions alone!

Once again, I feel the need to defend the Welsh Assembly Government’s policy on free prescriptions, something BMA Cymru Wales fought long and hard to have introduced on the Welsh NHS. The Welsh Conservatives say, if they were to gain power in the Assembly, they would scrap them, bringing in charges for those who can afford to pay the current £7.20 fee English patients currently have to stump up.

Our argument for keeping free prescriptions has been detailed on here before, but I’ll happily outline it again if it means we’ll change the minds of some of the detractors.

Even before prescription charges were phased out, the vast majority of patients were able to avoid paying any way, for a variety of reasons. Where people were having to pay, our members were aware of prescriptions not being collected, simply because of financial hardship. This more often than not affected those whose incomes were just above the level to trigger exemptions on the grounds of low income. In 2001, the Citizens Advice Bureaux published figures showing more than a quarter of people failed to get prescriptions, because of the cost.

Creating a list of exemptions, which is being suggested by the Conservatives, is unfair and unworkable. How do you define what are “serious” enough conditions to trigger these exemptions? All of this would also carry administrative costs to the Welsh NHS, surely, money that would be better spent on making sure patients get access to the medication they eed.

BMA Cymru Wales will continue to lobby to ensure free prescriptions remain in place, for as long as there are people out there, who need convincing of their value.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Leave your comment on this post.