Medical prescriptions in England will now cost 7.40 pounds per item from the existing 7.20 pounds. This Government announcement will come into action from April 1, 2011. Dental charges are also expected to rise. Dental charge for a check-up, will increase from 16.50 pounds to 17 pounds; while charge for fillings and a root canal, will increase from 45.6 pounds to 47 pounds. Charges for Dentures and bridges will increase by 198 pounds to 204 pounds.
Every year, the NHS makes over 450 million pounds because of prescription charges. England is the only part of UK still charging for prescriptions. Prescriptions are free in Wales and Northern Ireland, and will be free in Scotland from April 1, 2011.
AdvertisementThe British Medical Association (BMA) had called for a campaign to abolish prescription charges all together. This move will be a great blow for the BMA. Chairman of the BMA, Dr. Hamish Meldrum said, "The Government should be following the example of the other three nations in the UK to abolish prescription charges instead of increasing them."
Besides the BMA, a study conducted by former president of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Ian Gilmore also stated, "The current system of charging for prescriptions was outdated and arbitrary. Patients with long-term medical conditions, which lasted more than six months should be exempt from paying for prescriptions, with the exemption standing in place for three years."
Doctors and patients groups have reacted with fury in response to this move. They have warned these extra charges could cost lives for those who cannot afford their medication and called for the abolition of the prescription charges.