By Laura Kemp • 21 September 2021 • 16:43
Pensioners fear "devastating" free NHS prescription changes. Image: Pixabay
The government stated in a new proposal that the state pension age could be made the same as the upper age for free NHS prescriptions, which will change entitlements.
At the moment, people who are aged 60 and over are one of the groups that can receive free prescriptions. This is particularly helpful for those in retirement who do not have a stable source of income.
The Government has revealed that in England through 2018, nearly 90 per cent of prescriptions dispensed were free and this was due to the patient being 60 or over.
However, in 2019, around £600 million was generated from prescription charges and this supported “direct delivery of NHS services”.
While the exemption age for prescriptions used to be 65 and over, this was changed to women aged 60 in 1974 and to men aged 60 in 1995.
However, a new proposal seeks to change this so that it aligns with the state pension age. With the pension age rising, this could mean Brits may have to wait even longer to be eligible for the entitlement.
There has been some backlash over the new proposal, with some older people disagreeing with the idea of having to pay for the cost of their prescription medication.
Some experts have also disagreed with the change. Thorrun Govind, Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board Chair, said: “The proposal to raise the age at which people can access free prescriptions from 60 to 66 means that many more people will be affected by this tax on the sick at exactly the time at which they may be needing more medicines.
“It is unacceptable to raise the cost of prescriptions in the current economic situation when many have been disadvantaged by the pandemic. Such proposals will only further drive the health inequalities that have been highlighted by COVID-19. RPS would like to see the complete abolishment of prescription charges in England, whatever the age group, as is the case in Scotland and Wales.”
Even if this does go ahead, there may still be some groups who can receive their entitlement, these include:
Thankfully, the NHS has a free official eligibility checker which is available online here.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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It is absolutely ridiculous that the English have to pay for expensive prescriptions whilst the Scots and Welsh – who receive subsidies from England – do not. I don’t understand why more people are not up in arms about this totally unfair situation. Instead of the current ever-increasing charge make it £5 for every resident of the UK under 60. Problem solved.
its bloody disgraceful have these government loonies forgot how much we have paid in to the system ie NI contributions since we left school, tax the bloody rich and leave those alone who are on poor wages and poor pensions its a right scam
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