‘It’s a nasty tax!’ Concerns have been raised about the possibility of free NHS medications being extended till state pension age.
OLDER PEOPLE could face “devastating” health problems if the government’s plans to raise the qualifying age for free medications in England are implemented, according to reports.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is now consulting on aligning the maximum age exemption for prescription charges with the state pension age, which could mean that NHS prescription charges are on the way. This would mean that many more people in their 60s and 65s would be obliged to pay prices for their prescriptions. Now, a group of health organizations has joined forces to write an open letter pushing the government to reconsider its position.
The letter expresses “great worry” that eliminating free prescriptions for those aged 60 to 65 could have a “devastating impact” on the health of some elderly people.
It has termed the move as a “additional levy on poor health” that may cause complications for individuals who are affected.
The 52 percent of 60 to 64-year-olds who are said to be living with one or more long-term conditions are of special concern.
According to Age UK’s research, tens of thousands of individuals may need hospital treatment each year as a result of the move.
This, it is believed, would be the result of people reducing back on medication since they are no longer eligible for free prescriptions.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director, had something to say about it.
“The money raised by the government if it goes forward with this policy will be easily exceeded by the additional costs to the NHS if, as is expected, some individuals fail to take their medication and become sicker, faster,” she warned.
“Rationing what people take could result in tens of thousands of people needing hospital treatment, therefore this is a foolish proposal that would disproportionately affect the poor and those on low means.
“When we reach our early to mid-sixties, many of us are encouraged by our doctors to take medications that have been shown to successfully control potentially serious health concerns.
“If the government follows through on its plan, it is evident that some people may be hesitant to act on symptoms or seek a diagnosis for fear of being unable to afford long-term symptom relief.”Brinkwire Summary News”.