Dr Richard Lewis, secretary of BMA Wales, said: ‘It seems hardly a day passes now without more news of job losses and companies being put into administration.
‘There is however some small consolation for us here in Wales. At least we know a trip to the doctor’s won’t leave us out of pocket, with everyone being able to benefit from free prescriptions.
‘This was a policy BMA Wales fought long and hard to have introduced here and it couldn’t have happened at a more fortuitous time, given the current economic conditions.
‘And with NHS trusts gradually phasing out hospital parking charges, people need not worry so much about the financial burden a long-term health condition may have caused before these policies were introduced.
‘It does however make the £7.10 fee patients in England currently have to pay, even more of a bitter pill to swallow.’
Northern Ireland will follow Wales in 2010. Scotland has waived fees for those with chronic conditions. England is to waive fees for cancer patients in April 2009 and eventually those with long-term conditions.
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