Sunday, 1 April 2012

Increase in Prescription Charges: Staying Alive Can Be Expensive

BBC News announced today the there will be an increase in prescription charges of 25p pushing the price up to £7.65. For those of us with long term health conditions who are unable to get any exemption (hello warfarin patients) this increase is going to become an issue - I alone have spent £40 on prescriptions this month.

medical exemption

Exemption certificates - as ruled by the NHS and government - only cover patients with the following:

  • A permanent fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or requiring an appliance
  • A form of hypoadrenalism (for example Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
  • Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy
  • A continuing physical disability which means the person cannot go out without the help of another person.  Temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months
  • This also includes patients suffering from cancer

what if you need life-long medication but your condition is not on the list?

There are alternative options for those of us needing to save some money on our prescription charges: pre-paid prescription certificates (£104 for the year) will allow you to have a set number of prescriptions. These certificates are a great option for patients who need multiple prescription each month, especially with a long term health condition.

any chance of change?

The government are currently reviewing their policy on medical exemption, hopefully this will include patients who need anticoagulant therapy, pain management for M.E/CFS, as well as many others. Who knows why diabetes is on there and not warfarin - I'm not sure that you can lead such a bad lifestyle to thicken your blood whereas it is possible to damage your pancreas that way. Make sense? No, didn't think so.

your thoughts

How are the increased prescription charges going to effect you? Are you going to really think about what you need each time or perhaps go for a pre-paid certificate? Let me know how you feel and share your views in the comments.

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