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Free prescriptions for cancer patients

NHS patients being treated for cancer will be eligible for free prescriptions from April 01, 2009

NHS patients being treated for cancer will be eligible for free prescriptions from April 01, 2009.

The new scheme will mean everyone undergoing treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer, or the effects of cancer treatment will be entitled to apply for a five-year exemption from NHS prescription charges.

Public health minister, Dawn Primarolo said: "This new scheme gives people living with cancer one less worry at such a difficult time."

"I would urge patients to make an appointment with their GP from this week to talk about applying for their exemption certificate," she continued.

The Department of Health (DH) predicts that up to 150,00 patients already diagnosed with cancer will save around £100 a year each. The government is confident that applications received by March 24, will be processed in time for April 01.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We are delighted the government has listened and abolished prescription charges for cancer patients. This was absolutely the right thing to do. Cancer not only threatens your life, but can also make you poor. Free prescriptions will transform the lives of thousands of people living with cancer who were struggling to pay for drugs."

Currently around 60 per cent of England's population do not pay for prescriptions. This might be because of their age, an income related exemption or a specified medical condition.

The president of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Ian Gilmore, is undertaking a review of prescription charges for people with long-term conditions. The review will take into account the views of patients, the public, patient representative bodies, clinicians and healthcare organisations and will report to ministers in the summer of 2009.

20th January 2009

From: Healthcare

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