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Cut to Scottish prescription costs

Patients in Scotland will now pay less for their medication after the cabinet secretary for Health and Well-being labelled prescription charging as 'a tax on ill health'.
Patients in Scotland will now pay less for their medication after the cabinet secretary for Health and Well-being labelled prescription charging as 'a tax on ill health'.

The price of a prescription in Scotland has dropped from £6.85 to £5, a reduction of 25 per cent and patients suffering from chronic illnesses will benefit from a 51 per cent cut to their medication costs. A significant reduction has been applied to the price of a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC), which decreased from £98.70 to £48 for a 12-month period.

The changes to pricing in Scotland became effective on April 1, the same day that prescription costs in Northern Ireland were frozen and increased in England, rising to £7.10.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-being in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said: "The National Health Service is based on the principle that health services should be free at the point of use, no matter what the patient's income is."

"I am delighted to see the Scottish government deliver on a key manifesto commitment and take a major step in the phased abolition of prescription charges," she added.

In January 2005 the abolition of NHS prescription charges bill was introduced in the Scottish parliament and it is hoped that patients will be able to get all their medicines for free from April 2011. Before charges are abolished, however, prescription costs in Scotland will go down by a further £1 in 2009 and 2010.

Health minister Shona Robinson said: "The problem is that many people who are not exempt from charges simply cannot afford the right medication."

"More and more of us are living with long-term conditions and with the right support and medication, patients can go on to enjoy a good quality of life," Robinson added.

While prescription charges are set to become redundant at the beginning of the next decade, patients afflicted with chronic illness are been advised to continue using PPCs to buy their medication.

2nd April 2008

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