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Patients in England not collecting NHS prescriptions because of cost

Rising numbers of patients in England are failing to collect their medicines or asking pharmacists which ones they can “do without” because they cannot afford prescription charges, a survey shows.

NHS prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England there are exemptions for certain items, medical conditions and specific parts of the population, but most adults have to pay. The current prescription charge is £9.35 an item.

“We are deeply concerned that people are having to make choices about their health based on their ability to pay,” said Thorrun Govind, a pharmacist and chair of English pharmacy board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), which conducted the survey. “No one should have to make choices about rationing their medicines and no one should be faced with a financial barrier to getting the medicines they need.”

The findings, from a survey of 269 pharmacies, prompted the RPS to renew its call for patients with long-term conditions in England to get free prescriptions. Charges create a financial barrier to accessing medicines needed to stay well, it said.

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Source: The Guardian, 13 February 2023


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