19th Jan, 2022

Coventry Keep Our NHS Public launches campaign against scrapping free prescriptions for the 60 to 65s

NHS CAMPAIGNERS have slammed the Government for launching a consultation on scrapping free prescriptions for those aged between 60 and 65.

It is estimated the move – to raise the age to 66 in line with the current state pension age – will affect more than 20,000 people in Coventry.

Now Coventry Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) has started a petition against the alterations.

Coventry KONP secretary, Dave Nellist, said the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) had admitted the policy would affect some lower-income groups more severely and had described it as a ‘small negative impact on health inequalities’.

“They estimate 264,000 people nationally are ‘likely to be deterred’ from collecting their prescriptions because of a £9.35 charge per prescription.

“Raising the age for free prescriptions could have an even wider impact on older people’s health.

“In a 2017 survey of 5,600 people in England with long-term medical conditions who did not qualify for free prescriptions, the Prescription Charges Coalition found 33 per cent had not collected prescriptions due to cost, and 15 per cent sometimes or often skipped or reduced their doses because of the cost.”

He added while around 40 per cent of England’s population currently qualified for free prescriptions (by age, receipt of certain state benefits or certain medical conditions), many chronic illnesses, such as asthma and arthritis, were not included in exemptions and cancer was only added to the list in 2009.

Mr Nellist added: “Reducing the numbers eligible for free prescriptions will not only impact on their health but add further pressures to the NHS.

“Prescriptions are already free of charge in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and should be in England too.”

The Government argues that because many people aged between 60 and 65 ‘are and can remain in employment and be economically active, they are able to meet the cost of their prescriptions’.

Campaigners will be by Waterstones in Coventry city centre at midday on Wednesday, July 28 with petitions available for people to sign.

Click here to read the Government’s full proposals.

Click here to have your say on the Government’s consultation.

The deadline for comments is September 2.

Anyone interested in helping get signatures for the Coventry KONP petition, for example, in workplaces, community centres, and amongst family and friends, can email covkonp@gmail.com or text 07970 294237 for copies.

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