The NRAS Blog

Monday, 5 July 2010

The fight for free prescriptions goes on!

Well it seems that the fight must go on if we are to achieve our call for free prescriptions for people who have a long term condition.

After sitting on the report by Professor Ian Gilmore for some months, the previous Labour Government did not implement the recommendations of Professor Gilmore and his team by delaying the publication of the report.

It has been a long journey for the twenty patient groups that form this coalition calling for ‘Free Prescriptions for People with Long Term Conditions’ and we will not give up the fight. It cannot be right that some long term conditions can have access, whilst others cannot. This is not an equitable situation and last year the Coalition asked its supporters to take part in a number of activities such as writing to their MP to gain support and asking their MPs to sign Early Day Motions in Parliament. We had an online petition and our members attended a demonstration outside Parliament in order to raise awareness of the unfairness, particularly as England is now falling behind the other devolved national in terms of free prescriptions for all.

It is also interesting to note that Professor Gilmore supported Free Prescriptions for all, not just for people with a long term condition. There are many discussions around the complexities of trying to determine what a long term condition actually is, who should determine who qualifies and of course, how much would it cost to try and administer such a system, it does appear that the difficulties in trying to administer such a system would be extensive and therefore, free prescriptions for all would work out to be more cost effective in the long term.

So we now have a new Government and it seems that Professor Gilmore’s Review will now go back into the pot along with everything else and we wait to see if the current spending round allows for the implementation of Professor Gilmore’s findings in his report. The Coalition will still be in place and NRAS will still play its part in trying to ensure that we can achieve equity particularly with regard to people who have a long term condition.

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