New prescription charges take effect
Published on 02 April 2012 01:00 PM
People who pay for their NHS prescriptions in England will now be charged the new price of £7.65 - an increase of 25p.
The changes, which were announced earlier in the year by Health Minister Simon Burns, are now in force. Charges to dental care have also gone up unexpectedly.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says the increase is 'completely unacceptable' and had called on the coalition to keep the prices frozen.
Those who buy a three-month prepaid prescription payment certificate (PPC) will have no need to worry as the price will stay the same at £29.10, while the cost of a yearly PPC will stay at £104.
It is thought that people who regularly have prescriptions can benefit from these certificates, as by paying in advance they save money on a certain number of products.
According to the government, getting rid of prescription costs in England would mean the NHS would be short of £450 million every year. Currently people in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are not required to pay for their prescriptions.
The British Medical Association has called to get rid of the charges in England, branding it an 'unfair' system.
Neal Patel, from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, told the BBC that people suffering from chronic illnesses might not look after their health properly due to the expensive prices in the economic climate.
He said: 'The prescription charge system at the moment seems to penalise people that have certain long-term conditions, but not others. It is perhaps a false economy to think if we don't take these medicines there is a reduced cost to that patient. But, longer term, they may end up in hospital and cost the NHS more.'
Copyright Press Association 2012