Doctors have today welcomed the start of free prescriptions for all in Northern Ireland, which begin on 1 April 2010.
Dr Paul Darragh, Chairman of the BMA's Council in Northern Ireland said,
"This is a momentous day for healthcare in Northern Ireland, and Minister McGimpsey is to be congratulated in taking this step even in today's financially straitened times.
"Patients with chronic and life threatening illnesses who need regular medication will now be able to get their medicines without having to worry about the cost".
These remarks were echoed by Larne GP Dr Brian Dunn, who heads up the BMA's Northern Ireland GP committee, saying
"GPs have seen first hand how patients had to contend with the inequalities of the previous charging system. I will now be able to write prescriptions in the knowledge that cost won't be a factor in preventing patients from taking their medicines"