BMA urges ministers to scrap prescription charges

The BMA has called on the government to scrap all NHS prescription charges.

The annual representative meeting in Liverpool this morning overwhelmingly passed a motion urging the government to 'abolish prescription charges in England as has happened in Wales and is happening in Scotland and Northern Ireland'.

Ayrshire GP Dr Hal Maxwell had argued against the motion, warning that it would lead to more patients asking for free prescriptions for over-the-counter drugs like aspirin.

Free prescriptions would lead to 'poor compliance and increase waste', he said.
But BMA Council chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum attacked the argument that patients didn't value free treatments, asking: 'Doesn't that mean the value of free heart transplants is nil?'

'There is no reason for maintaining an unfair tax on illness which is what prescription charges have become,' he added.

The motion passed overwhelmingly.

Coverage from the BMA ARM 2009 in Liverpool

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