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MS Society condemns government for lack of action

The Multiple Sclerosis Society in the UK is claiming that the government failed to find out the true cost of prescription charges despite a commitment made a year ago
The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society in the UK is claiming that the government failed to find out the true cost of prescription charges despite a commitment made a year ago, and is calling for free prescriptions for people with long-term health problems.

A coalition of charities, including the MS Society, says the government must now act urgently to make prescriptions free for people suffering from conditions that require long-term care, such as MS. The UK-based charity says that despite a promise by ministers in July 2007 to consult the public on prescription charges, the government has failed to take any action in the 12 months since that pledge was made.

A report by the Health Select Committee in 2006 sparked initial calls for a review of prescription charges. The list of medical conditions that entitle patients to free medication on the NHS has not been revised since 1968. At present, the only way for someone with a long-term medical problem to qualify for free prescriptions is through low income or age.

"The inaction of the government is deplorable and we are calling on MPs to support the coalition and highlight the urgent need for the review of prescription charging," said Dan Berry, head of policy and campaigns at the MS Society. "For people living with long-term conditions, prescription charges are yet another long-term financial burden on top of other costs associated with illness and disability, which can often include a lack of employment."

22nd July 2008

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