NHS prescriptions could surge by 40% – and pensioners to be hit hardest

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The report claims that NHS prescription fees look likely to rise to almost £13 per item by 2035, if the current cost increase trend continues. That’s a rise of almost 40 percent on current costs which would hit pensioners’ pockets the hardest.

James O’Loan, pharmacist and CEO at Chemist4U said that the data indicates that the rising cost of prescriptions is an area for concern.

He said: “Prescription medications are a brilliant way of treating many medical conditions, and make a real difference in keeping us a fit and healthy population.

“However, in many cases, we may now be used to expecting a prescription as soon as we see a doctor or prescribing professional, when it may not always be necessary.

“Alongside the cost of prescriptions and medicines as a whole, this is definitely a cause for concern.”

The revealing data comes at a time when Government proposals to scrap free NHS prescriptions for the over 60s still hang in the balance.

The proposals recommend that the age that someone can get their prescription without being charged could be raised from 60 to 66 to align with the state pension age.

If it does get the green light, it will mean that over 60s in England will have to fork out for their NHS prescriptions, while over 60s in Scotland and Wales will continue to get them for free.

The move has angered people in their 60s who are voicing their concern over the Government’s plan to scrap free NHS prescriptions for their age group.

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Age UK says free prescriptions protect the most vulnerable people in society who are already struggling to meet the £9 per item cost.

Speaking about Government’s proposals to increase the free prescription age, Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK said it’s unfair.

She said: “This policy proposal seems all the more unfair because prescriptions are free for everyone in Scotland and Wales.

“There’s a strong public health case for heading in that direction here in England too.”

Ms Abrahams continued: “Instead, our Government wants to do the opposite: make many more people pay for their medicines, and at an age when it’s all the more important they take them, to control conditions that left untreated can lead to really serious medical problems, piling more pressure onto the NHS.”

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “Around 90 percent of community prescriptions in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60, or have certain medical conditions.

“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link between this and the state pension age.”

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They continued: “No final decisions have been made and we will publish the consultation response in due course.”

To save money on NHS prescriptions people can buy a ‘Prescription Pre-payment Certificate’ (PPC).

It costs £108.10 a year but can save people hundreds over the course of a year.

However, many older people aren’t aware that it exists or find setting up a direct debit too fiddly.

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