The MP for Stockton North has pledged to help scrap prescription charges for everyone in England with a long-term condition, as new economic analysis reveals that such a move would save the NHS millions and improve health outcomes.
The independent research by the York Health Economics Consortium, commissioned by Parkinson’s UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK, showed savings of more than £20 million per year if the NHS scrapped prescriptions for people with Parkinson’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease alone.
Savings would be made from a reduction in health complications due to people not taking their medication as prescribed: previous research has shown around a third of people with long term conditions who pay for prescriptions do not pick up or take their medication properly due to the cost¹.
The £20 million would be saved by reductions in hospital admissions, inpatient days, A&E visits and GP appointments.
Attending the launch of the report at Westminster on Wednesday 23rd May, (name) MP expressed his/her concern that not everyone with a long-term condition in England was entitled to free prescriptions, despite the projected government savings.
Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, said:
“This is an extremely important report, highlighting a significant injustice to so many people with long-term conditions in England.
“The NHS has a list of conditions that exempt people from paying prescriptions, but this hasn’t been updated since its creation in 1968.
“Over the past five decades, medical progress has been astounding, but this list is stuck in the past, omitting so many conditions that were undiscovered or had very short life expectancy at the time. I am committed to ensuring people in Stockton North with long-term conditions are treated fairly.”
The report shows that extending prescription charge exemptions to people with long-term conditions would save the NHS:
- £93 per person with Parkinson’s per year
- £180 per person with Inflammatory Bowel Disease per year
And would result in:
- 789 fewer A&E visits for people with Parkinson’s
- 3,796 fewer GP visits for people with Crohn’s Disease
The report can be accessed via the Prescription Charges Coalition website at http://www.prescriptionchargescoalition.org.uk/economic-evaluation.html
For more information, contact Alex on 020 7219 7157 or on firstname.lastname@example.org