Charities call on PM to scrap prescription charges

Twenty charities have called on Gordon Brown to scrap prescription charges for people with long-term conditions as soon as possible.

The Prescription Charges Coalition has called on Gordon Brown to implement policy on prescription charges
The Prescription Charges Coalition has called on Gordon Brown to implement policy on prescription charges

In a letter to the prime minister seen by Healthcare Republic, the charities' chief executives called on the prime minister to implement his promise of free prescriptions as soon as possible.

‘Prescription charges are a deeply unfair burden on people with long-term conditions — those who need medicines the most for day-to-day quality of life', they said.

‘Patients should not be prevented by an NHS charge from accessing treatment to improve their quality of life.'

Writing in the letter as the Prescription Charges Coalition, the charities said they hoped that the government would be able to find a way to implement this policy as soon as possible.

The letter has been signed by representatives of the following charities: Androgen Insensitivity Support Group, Arthritis Care, Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, Asthma UK, Behcets Syndrome Society, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Disability Alliance, Klinefelter's Syndrome Association, Mind, MS Society, National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, National Association for Colitis and Crohn's Disease , National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, Parkinson's Disease Society, Pernicious Anaemia Society, Rethink, Skin Care Campaign, Stroke Association and Terence Higgins Trust.

Last month, Healthcare Republic exclusively revealed concerns that plans to scrap prescription charges in England for patients with long-term conditions may fall by the wayside in the build-up to the general election.

An Asthma UK spokesman warned that, if there were to be a May election, the government would need to introduce legislation by February in order to have time to put legislation through. Changes would otherwise be relegated to a manifesto promise by Labour and were unlikely to be supported by the Conservatives, he said.

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