An increase in prescription charges encourages autonomy, but only in England. It also encourages movement between different systems… In Wales we already know we are second class citizens.

The recent announcement of an increase in prescription charges is “good news” for the English, because they will have more services of a higher cost and lower volume: the very services that Aneurin Bevan wanted to be available equally to miners and bankers. Unfortunately, with 4 / 5 health services, we are going to see more differences rather than les, in life expectancy (measurable) and in many services (unmeasurable) in the future. Wales and Scotland seem unable to discuss the subject of prescription charges without the emotion involved in a regressive rather than a progressive system. The short termism of this discussion, avoiding the “hard truths” and longer term financial issues means there will be more movement between different dispensations in future… But even this may become more within England, as different commissioners reduce the choices available to their patients. In Wales these choices have been severely limited for a decade, but then we know we are second class citizens.

There are already co=payments in eyes and dental services. Why not the drugs and appliances? We have to bring reality into the Health Services, and we need to challenge and “accuse” our governments of failing us with devolution.

In the current financial year in England:

If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than 14 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC. The charge for a single prescription item is £8.80 (from 1st April 2018), whereas a three month PPC will cost you £29.10 and a 12 month PPC £104.00. They are free for many groups: children, retired, disabled etc. Why not charge according to means?

Image result for free prescriptions cartoon

The Pharmaceutical Journal 25th Feb 2019: Prescription fees set to increase to £9 from April 2019

Money Saving Expert 21st Feb 2019: NHS prescription charge to rise to £9

Express.co.uk22 Feb 2019: Fury as NHS plans to raise prescription cost to £9

The cost of a surgical bra will rise from £28.85 to £29.50. And the charge for a full bespoke wig made of human hair will increase by £6, to £282.
NHSreality May 27th 2013: Prescription Charges and philosophy
Image result for free prescriptions cartoon
Image result for prescription charges cartoon
This entry was posted in A Personal View, Commissioning, Good News, Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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