NHS Prescription Charges Killing Patients


England may be the driving force behind the UK; the Queen is from there, the Houses Of Parliament is there. In fact, every major UK decision is made there. However when it comes to innovation and initiative, they are streets behind their Welsh and Scottish cousins.

On October 5th 2015, England finally caught up with the rest of the UK in charging 5p for plastic shopping carrier bags. It was was a huge thing as English households up and down the country panicked at the thought of shopping without bags available. However, Scotland had already been operating this policy for a whole year and Wales had been doing so very successfully for FOUR years.

On a more serious level, England are still charging patients for NHS prescription medicines. Wales have had free prescriptions for ALL since 2007 and Scotland since 2011. Free prescriptions may seem a luxury the NHS can’t afford. However, imagine if you are on medication 365 day per year. That’s a very costly exercise for any person to maintain.

So, why do England charge patients still?
Money. It all comes down to money. In 2010/11 the NHS raised £450 million from prescription charges alone. That accounted for 0.5% of their overall budget.

There’s a bigger picture, however. Certain patients rely heavily on medication just to keep them alive. Should they have the added worry of paying for said drugs? Should they be put in the position of not being able to afford these tablets? Should they be forced to choose between food or medicine?

More should be being done to combat this issue. More awareness needs to be brought. During my own research it has become striking just how little is known and shocking just how poorly patients are treated in England.
I would seriously urge anyone who has an ounce of common decency and sense to get legislation changed, so patients with life-limiting diseases and illnesses can freely access the treatment and medicines which will at least make their life liveable.

Come on England, wake up!

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