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Prescription charges

15 November, 2007

Surely I can’t be the only person in Scotland who feels that she is able to afford to pay for her (already heavily-subsidised) prescriptions.

I applaud the Scottish Government’s determination to improve the nation’s health, but I feel that the £97 million it will cost could be better spent.

My own feeling is that children, pensioners, pregnant women and those on benefit (including Working Families’ Tax Credit – to help those on lower incomes) should be exempt from prescription charges, but solicitors, doctors, fund managers? Why on earth should people who earn decent money not pay something towards the cost of their prescriptions?

I know that the argument is the same for Child Benefit: universal benefit is easier to administer, but should prevention, not cure, be our focus? What are the statistics for people not obtaining their medicine and using it because of cost? And to what extent does it really impact on the nation’s health?

 There are no mothers out there who don’t collect their children’s prescription for those reasons: children are exempt from prescription charges already, as are those on income support and incapacity or disability benefit, so who is the Government intending to target with this measure, and how will we judge its success?

Healthy and inviting primary school meals (it’s too late by the time they are teenagers), plus the re-introduction of cookery in schools, will do a great deal more for our future health than more prescription drugs.

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