NHS prescription fees 2022 – Government issues response amid fears of April hike

A government health minister has confirmed NHS prescription charges which will be in place from April. The news comes amid concerns of a rise and suggestions it will coincide with new rules raising the age for free prescriptions from 60 to 66.

Many people were concerned that the cost of drugs at the pharmacy would rise from its current price of £9.35 per item. Research by Chemist4U showed prescriptions rose by an average of 2.35% year-on-year, suggesting they will reach £9.57 next month. Last April, the price rose by 20p.

However, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed to BirminghamLive that there was no planned rise in prescription fees from April 2022. It pointed to discussions in Parliament when the Labor MP Emily Thornberry asked if the price will increase from April 1 this year.

READ MORE: Five ways to get city council money to ease the cost of living crisis

The DHSC shared the response from Minister of State for Health Edward Argar, who said: “Prescription fees will not be increased on 1 April 2022. There are currently no announcements planned on a future increase. Decisions on increases take into account a range of evidence, including the gross domestic product deflator.

This is good news for those who have to pay at the pharmacy counter, although there are proposals that would raise the age for free prescriptions to 66, in line with the increase in the retirement age of ‘State. Currently, anyone aged 60 and over can get their medication without having to pay.

As many as 2.4 million Britons could lose their free prescriptions under plans to change the system. Two different proposals are being considered – one would mean the change would come into effect immediately for everyone so that people aged 60 to 65 would have to start paying for drugs, the other would mean that anyone in the 60-65 age bracket who are already free prescriptions would still be exempt from payment until they turn 66, so they would not suddenly face fees.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: ‘We are regularly contacted by older people asking what is happening with the changes as they are so worried that they will have to pay for their prescriptions with little warning.

A petition to keep prescriptions free for those over 60 has been signed by more than 46,000 people. The Department of Health and Social Care responded to the petition with a comprehensive statement explaining its position.

The statement read: “At this time, no decision has yet been made regarding the consultation. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is carefully reviewing the results and an announcement setting out the government’s response and course of action. will be made in due course.

“The government is keen to underline its commitment to keeping the NHS sustainable while protecting the most vulnerable. Around 89% of prescription items are dispensed free of charge and extensive provisions are in place to help those who need it most.”

Video loading

Video unavailable

He continued: “An estimated 34% of people aged 60 to 65 would be exempt from prescription fees if the upper age limit for free prescriptions were raised in line with the state retirement age.

“People who may not be exempt but are on low income can apply for help under the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). This scheme provides help with income-tested healthcare costs Those who are exempt from charging for income-related reasons would retain their exemption under the proposals.

“For people who have to pay NHS prescription fees and need a lot of prescription items, they can save money with a Prepaid Prepaid Certificate (PPC). These can be purchased for 3 or 12 months and gives access to all NHS prescriptions needed during the A 12 month PPC will save money if more than 11 prescription items are needed per year, can be paid for in 10 monthly installments and costs a just over £2 a week when spread over a year.

And the statement concluded: “Prescription fees generate revenue for the NHS of around £600 million a year, which is used to cover essential running costs of frontline services. Currently people are receiving free prescriptions when they reach the age of 60 in England This has not changed since 1974 for women and 1995 for men.

“The state pension age in England is currently 66 and is expected to increase further for both men and women to 68 in coming years. In 2019/20 around 60% of people aged 60 to 65 were still economically active and potentially able to cover the cost of their prescriptions.As increasing numbers of people are living longer, there are more people claiming free prescriptions.It is expected that by 2066 there will be 8.6 million additional UK residents aged 65 and over, representing 26% of the total population.

“Raising the upper age limit for free prescriptions for people, who previously received free prescriptions based solely on their age rather than their inability to pay, would result in a shift of resources from people to the NHS. These funds could then be spent on improving patient services, which translates into health benefits for society at large.However, the government has yet to make a decision and continues to weigh the arguments.

The prescription fee fears come as many standard household costs rise in April, including energy and water bills, TV/internet packages and mobile phone contracts. Food prices have also risen and are expected to rise further due to soaring inflation and the effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Get all your benefits, finance and politics news with our free daily newsletters – you can sign up here to get all the latest updates straight to your inbox.

Source link

About Alex S. Crone

Check Also

Analysis of the size of the non-prescription drug consumption market by 2029

This study is one of the most detailed and accurate, focusing solely on the global …