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England prescription charge increased to £7.65
The 25p increase to prescription charges in England, a rise of 3.4%, is the largest in the last decade.
All other devolved nations have free of charge NHS prescriptions, with Wales abolishing their charges in 2007, Northern Ireland in 2010 and Scotland last year.
Currently, all three are contemplating reinstating some form of prescription charges again. GPs in Scotland have warned of a rising workload, and Northern Ireland’s Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety believes that the move could raise revenue and maintain services.
The BMA believe that prescription charges in England should follow suit, chair Dr Hamish Meldrum says:
“Patients with disabling long-term conditions still have to pay them despite a recent report recommending they be phased out. Most importantly, the principle of charging for prescriptions runs counter to the founding principle of an NHS that is free at the point of use.
“The BMA understands that we live in financially difficult times, but this is a tax on the sick that contributes only a modest amount to the NHS is budget and does not offset the unfair disadvantage of asking the ill to pay for their medicine.”