RPS calls for government to freeze prescription charges

Photography by Jess HurdPhotography by Jess Hurd

We’ve joined with the Prescription Charges Coalition, which represents over 50 organisations, to hand in an open letter to the Department of Health and Social Care (photo) calling for the Minister for Primary Care and Public Health to freeze prescription charges for 2024 and 2025.

The letter has been backed by over 600 members of the public.

Prescriptions are free in all other nations of the UK except England. The campaign is calling for the prescription charge, which is currently £9.65 per item, to be frozen as people living with long-term health conditions in England are being forced to choose between heating, eating, and taking their vital medication, on a daily basis.

Tase Oputu, Chair of RPS in England, said:

“Nobody should face a financial barrier to accessing the medicines they need. Prescription charges are a stealth tax on health and increase the risk of avoidable hospital admissions, adding further pressure to the health service.

“The prescription charges system is confusing for patients and creates unnecessary bureaucracy for pharmacy teams who want to focus on patient care. Amid a cost-of-living crisis, I would urge the Government to freeze prescription charges this year and commit to abolish this complex and unjust system.”

Campaigners call for government to freeze prescription charges to keep people with long-term conditions alive and well.

Laura Cockram, Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said: “Living with a long-term health condition or disability often adds to the cost of living. Many need more heating to stay well and extra electricity to power assistive technology devices.

“We are deeply concerned that a further rise in the charge this year will lead to people skipping or not taking the full dose of their medication, and we fear this will have a negative impact on their health and put more pressure on the already under pressure NHS. Ultimately, the UK government needs to review the unfair exemption list.”

In 2023, research from the Prescription Charges Coalition found that nearly 10% of respondents had skipped medication in the past year due to the cost of prescriptions and this increased their physical and mental health problems, as well as impacted the time they took off work.

Read more on our policy on prescription charges

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