Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions
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In England, anyone aged over 60 years old can claim a free prescription on the NHS but the Department for Work & Pensions is looking to increase this in line with the state pension age of 66.The Government published its consultation on increasing the age exemption for NHS prescription charges a year ago and if implemented, thousands could face additional charges for six years.
Having to pay the £9.35 prescription fee could cost those with chronic conditions a small fortune, worsening the cost of living crisis for many.
The Government argues that since many people aged 60 to 65 are still employed, they can afford to cover the cost.
However, having to pay the £9.35 prescription fee per item could cost those with chronic conditions, dependent on several medications, a small fortune.
Many older people will have to spend hundreds of pounds each year to manage their health conditions.
This additional cost is a burden on finances and could worsen the cost of living crisis for many.
There are fears that some people could stop taking their prescriptions because they can no longer afford them.
The DWP argue that 90 percent of community prescription items in England are free of charge.
However, residents in Scotland and Wales can claim free medication at any age.
Age UK said there is a strong public health case to give everyone in England free prescriptions.
Charity director Caroline Abrahams said the proposal to increase free prescription eligibility is “unfair”.
She said: “This policy proposal seems all the more unfair because prescriptions are free for everyone in Scotland and Wales.
“There’s a strong public health case for heading in that direction here in England too.
“Instead, our government wants to do the opposite: make many more people pay for their medicines, and at an age when it’s all the more important they take them, to control conditions that left untreated can lead to really serious medical problems, piling more pressure onto the NHS.
“If ever there was a self-defeating policy, this is it, and we know that many medical experts agree with us.”
So what do YOU think? Are you worried about your medication if the free prescription age rises to 66? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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