Well sadly after 25 years the era of free NHS prescriptions for the over-60s looks set to end in April. They have not faced charges for their prescriptions but it has been revealed by The Daily Express that the government plans to impose fees from April 1.
At the same time the government also plans to increase the cost of a prescription which at present is £9.35.
This is devastating news for millions of over 60 year old people in England living with chronic conditions and long term conditions although many will still remain exempt from charges.
There is a lot of confusion as to who may or many not still be eligible to have their prescription charged waived. This will undoubtedly cause increased pressure on older people’s pockets as the cost of living crisis escalates.
In the next few months there will be a huge rise of tax and price hikes, as income tax bills, National Insurance charges, energy prices, council tax demands and rail fares. This is set to get more punitive, warned Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Sarah Coles went on to say that the NHS prescription charge reforms would come on top of all these increases. This will result in an increase of stress, worry and many people might not be able to afford to pay for their prescriptions, therefore putting their health and wellbeing at risk.
Last year, the Government announced plans to lift the qualifying age for free prescriptions in England from 60 to age 66, to bring them into line with the State Pension age.
The governments reasoning for this is because many people aged from 60 to 65 remain in employment and can therefore afford to meet the cost. What the government hasn’t taken into account is that many of these people are employed on a minimum wage contract and financially aren’t in a position to be able to pay for their prescriptions.
Ms Coles went on to say that she believes the reform is likely to come into force on April 1, the same day that prescription charges typically increase.
“At the moment there’s no charge for over-60s but that could soon change. If it does, it would drag millions of people into having to pay for essential medicines.”
On April 1 last year, the prescription charge increased by 20p, from £9.15 to £9.35, a rise of 2.1 percent in line with inflation.
At the same time, the Prescription Charges Coalition dubbed the increase as a “tax on health” and have warned that some patients are already being forced to choose between everyday essentials like food and their medicine. It said on its current trajectory the charge could hit £10.15 by 2025.
If prescription charges rise continue to rise by inflation they could get even more expensive, with price growth expected to top six percent this year.
Ms Coles also said the government has yet to confirm if prescription charges will rise but warned: “2022 is a year of change, but not in a good way. Most of the financial developments in the pipeline will leave us worse off.”
Over the past ten years, the cost of prescriptions has risen by a thumping 26.4 per cent, an increase of £1.95 per item, according to a report by Chemist4U
Those with serious or long term medical conditions can limit the total cost by purchasing a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), which costs £108.10 for a year of “free” prescriptions. However, this could also rise with inflation.
Not everyone can afford to pay £108.10 upfront for a Prescription Prepayment Certificate though, it’s a lot of money to have to pay at once even though it does save money in the long run.
Prescription Charges Coalition chair Laura Cockram is also battling moves to make the over 60s pay for NHS prescriptions, warning of “the dire impact of the proposals on those living with health conditions”.
Age UK has also called plans to end free NHS prescriptions for the over 60s in England a “bitter pill to swallow for millions”.
Director Caroline Abrahams said prescriptions are free for everyone in Scotland and Wales and the principle should be extended to England, too.
I doubt we will ever see the end of the governments cruelty. Many people aged over 60 are forced to work for financial reasons even though they’re battling long term medical conditions.
Whilst the mortality rates continue to increase I sadly can predict that the government may increase this to 70 years of age which many of us will not get to see.
Call me old fashioned but I believe that our older generation should be able to rest and retire with ease to enjoy life after many years of hard work and raising families. They have all paid for this already by their national insurance payments.
This is another way that the government are shafting the public whilst benefiting financially from it. It’s despicable and we must continue to fight against the governments plans.
Here’s the link to the original report https://www.chemist-4-u.com/prescriptions/the-state-of-englands-prescriptions/
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15 thoughts on “Free Prescriptions For Over 60s To End In April”
Thanks for this information, Charlotte, I didn’t know free prescriptions were going to be cancelled for people over 60. I’ll share the information.
As to the situation at job centres, from last March to August (when I ended up back in employment) Oldham job centre was insisting on people attending appointments in person. I suspect this might have been with the purpose of it being easier to harass people in person. I got a truly bizarre job coach who kept repeating “Any job is better than no job” at five minute intervals throughout the interview, and directed me to look for jobs in The Manchester Weekly News, which doesn’t have an online (free) version, doesn’t have an edition in Oldham, and has only one or two job vacancies a week. She cut me off and then walked out of the interview when I tried to tell her this and that I would be better looking at the Oldham Chronicle or the MEN online. I complained about her, of course, bullies never have just one target and she was bound to be bullying other people besides me. I have no idea how such a person got employed as a job coach.
I’ve just been doing some research for my own blog, which I’m re starting, and have seen that apparently DWP work coaches are being asked to contact claimants by phone and ask them of they feel comfortable and safe coming into the jobcentre for interview and sign on or of they would prefer to do it over the phone? What’s your experiences guys? Is it happening?
It’s all very haphazard these days. It used to be a Jobcentre appointment every fortnight (for old style JSA), but my last appointment was by phone on the 7th Dec. and my next appointment isn’t until 18th January, supposedly in person in the Jobcentre but I will get an email if it changes to a phone appointment. Besides the Covid situation the staff at my local Jobcentre have been sent home (last year) due to failure of the Jobcentre heating system for several months. I’m wondering if the writing is on the wall for Jobcentres and they are finally going to be closed down and done away with? Perhaps the Gov. have finally realised that Jobcentres are obsolete, expensive, and serve no purpose whatsoever.
Trev, I saw trust over on Rightsnet, that work coaches were supposed to be ringing people and giving them choice! We all know the DWP do as they please though! Let’s hope jobcentre are soon a thing of the past! If you’re comfortable doing so, please share if your next appt did go ahead face to face, and what safety measures if any were in place!
From what I’ve heard people are still expected to attend appointments unless they’ve got an illness or disability that makes them vulnerable for catching covid
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Sorry guys off topic but im really not sure where to post and I feel this needs getting out there. To anyone who has children in schools or works in one or who drops off and picks up children:
Obviously I’m sure things are different in every area, but Boris made a big hoo haa that lateral flow tests would be available to schools and to certain key workers. In my town in south East England, some primary schools do not have any lateral flow tests so rhe staff can’t test- I don’t know of supplies have diverted to secondary schools whee pupils are asked to test, but here we can’t pick tests up in pharmacies either as there are none!
I’m a Union officer, and have always said schools are not and never have been safe, even I’m gobsmacked by this latest! Stay safe all! In solidarity with you all, Kat R x
Schools are definitely not safe. My daughter’s school which is an academy secondary school has an adequate number of tests and pupils are expected to continue testing and report the results to the school.
Picking tests up here in the north west is almost impossible but they are available online if you’re quick enough. I know they put a new batch online at 12 noon every day.
It’s bloody awful tbh primary schools are rife with it and the government doesn’t care a jot
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Charlotte, thanks for your reply, it’s interesting building up a picture what’s going on round the country but as you say appalling the government behaving as it is. Atm in our place we have 13 staff off, only one of whom isn’t battling covid or covid related problems. Just one person with a disc problem similar to mine. Stay safe all
Reblogged this on Tory Britain! .
You don’t mention NHS Medical Exemption Certificates which most people using repeat medication for long-term health conditions are eligible for and don’t need to purchase
That’s exactly why it doesn’t apply to everyone and I stated that. Atm the proposal is so complicated it’s hard to get a just of it
I was dismayed to read this story in the news. Free prescriptions, and free dental treatment, as well as Council Tax reduction, are things I take into account when considering accepting a minimum wage job. I get free prescriptions at the moment because I’m in receipt of Income based (“legacy”) JSA and am on medication for life, so it would be a great relief to know that free prescriptions would continue on the basis of age if not employment status. I wonder if our glorious leader Mr. Starmer will dare to oppose this measure? It is, after all, yet another attack on the poor and the sick.
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Absolutely Trev. Unsurprisingly he’s been silent on the issue.
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Charlotte, I didn’t know about this!! Sadly though I work and choose not to claim UC, I’m still liable to pay for prescriptions and full whack for glasses, though I can get a free eye test through my union. I choose to pay for a prepaid certificate, you can, as I do, split the cost into monthly payments of £10.80 over 10 months, though I appreciate not everyone working can do this. I really believe the government want to kill us oldies off. Stay safe all.