NHS prescription charges set to rise to £9.15 tomorrow amid coronavirus epidemic, charities warn – The Sun
NHS prescription charges are set to rise by 15p to £9.15 tomorrow – amid the coronavirus epidemic, charities have warned.
The price hike – which comes around on April 1 every year – is in line with inflation, the Government says.
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But campaigners warn that these price increases could put people with long-term conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, at risk.
Laura Cockram, head of policy and campaigns at Parkinson's UK and chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said: “The Government is quick to say this rise is in line with inflation, but any increase in this unfair charge is too much.
“During the Covid-19 outbreak, keeping yourself healthy is crucial to avoid placing extra strain on the NHS.
"The medication people with long-term conditions need to stay well is an essential part of that.
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"Our research shows that a third of people with long-term conditions don’t take their medicine, because they can’t afford it and this can mean they end up going into hospital.
"We are incredibly disappointed in the rise for individual items and the increases to the prepayment certificate price – it’s a double whammy for the 10 per cent of people in England with long-term conditions who have to pay for their medication.
"The prepayment certificate has long been lauded as an affordable alternative to paying for individual prescriptions, but for many, the upfront cost is still too much.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, keeping yourself healthy is crucial to avoid placing extra strain on the NHS
"Increasing this fee, in line with inflation or not, will result in even more people skipping essential medication and place even more pressure on our already overloaded NHS."
The price increase may only be a two per cent increase since last year, but it's a 12 per cent rise compared to the cost of a prescription in 2015.
A previous freeze on prescription payment certificates (PPC), which allow patients to get as many medicines needed in a set period at a fixed price, will also be removed.
It means the 3-month PPC will increase by 55p to £29.65 and a 12-month PPC goes up by £1.90 to £105.90.
And dental charges will go up to with the cost of getting your teeth checked expected to rise to £23.90 from 2019’s cost of £22.70 – an increase of five per cent but a 26 per cent rise since 2015.
Charges for prescription wigs, bras, spinal and fabric supports will also be increased in line with inflation, the government said.
Bras – worn after surgery – will now cost £30.05, abdominal or spinal supports will rise to £45.35, synthetic wigs will increase to £74.15, partial human hair wigs will increase to £196.40 and full bespoke human hair wigs will rise to £287.20.
Charges only apply to patients in England, while prescriptions continue to be free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The NHS last year said that the charge changes were a result of having to deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings and provide £10billion investment for the NHS by 2021.
Simon Dukes, Chief Executive of Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said the move 'ultimately adds to the NHS bill'.
He said: "Prescription charges represent a Government tax which community pharmacy teams have to collect: as health professionals, we would like to see their time being better spent on the provision of advice and clinical services to NHS patients.
"Pharmacies report that many people already find it difficult to pay the prescription charge.
"Whilst we recognise the financial pressures that the NHS is under, raising the prescription tax once again runs the risk of those most in need not getting their medicines – ultimately adding to the NHS bill elsewhere."
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