David Drew MP backs call for free prescriptions for long-term conditions
The MP for Stroud, David Drew has pledged to help extend free prescriptions to everyone in England with a long-term health condition, as a report reveals that such a move would actually save the NHS money in the long-term.
The report, commissioned by Parkinson’s UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK, showed savings of more than £20,000 if the NHS extended free prescriptions just to people with Parkinson’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Attending the launch of the report at Westminster today, Wednesday 23 May, David Drew MP expressed his concern that not everyone with a long-term condition in England was entitled to free prescriptions, despite the apparent government savings.
Stroud MP, David Drew, said: “This is an extremely important report, highlighting the injustice to so many people with long-term conditions in England.
“The NHS has a list of conditions that exempt people from paying prescriptions, but this hasn’t been updated since its creation in 1968.
“Over the past five decades, medical progress has been astounding, but this list is stuck in the past, omitting so many conditions that were undiscovered or had very short life expectancy at the time. I am committed to ensuring people in (constituency name) with long-term conditions are treated fairly.”
Research for the report, provided by the York Health Economics Consortium, shows that extending prescription charge exemptions to people with long-term conditions would save the NHS:
· £93 per person with Parkinson’s per year
· £180 per person with inflammatory bowel disease per year
And would result in:
· 789 fewer A&E visits for people with Parkinson’s
· 3,796 fewer GP visits for people with Crohn’s Disease
Matina Loizou, Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson’s UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said: “Medical progress has made so many strides over the past five decades, but this list is stuck in the past.
“No diagnosis should come with a bill – not from our NHS – and it is appalling that so many people have to pay for the privilege of having a long-term condition they certainly didn’t ask for.”
Jackie Glatter, Health Service Development Manager at Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition said: “The Government have freely admitted that the current prescription exemption criteria are outdated and arbitrary and now we have proven it’s a false economy.
“This broken system needs urgent reform to deliver both value for money for the tax payer and ensure people with long-term conditions get the vital medicines they need.”
The report can be accessed via the Prescription Charges Coalition website on [LINK]. For advice, information and support call the charity’s free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.
- Every hour, two people in the UK are told they have Parkinson's.
- It affects 145,000 people in the UK – which is around one in 350 of the adult population.
- Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological condition, for which there currently is no cure. The main symptoms of the condition are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity.
- Parkinson's UK is the UK's leading charity supporting those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson's through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning.
- For advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call our free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.