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Scottish minister confirms move to scrap prescription charges

By Lilian Anekwe

The Scottish Government has announced it will abolish NHS prescription charges despite crushing financial pressures on the health system.

Speaking at the Scottish National Party conference last week, health cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon reaffirmed the government’s commitment to abolishing prescription charges next April.

Charities and voluntary groups had feared the proposals to scrap the charge – which has been cut from £7 to £3 over the past few years – would be shelved but Ms Sturgeon said patients would not be made to pay for ‘Labour’s economic mess’.

‘At a time when our revenue budget overall is facing significant cash cuts, there will be no revenue cash cuts in the budget for our NHS – instead, funding for our NHS will rise in line with the commitment we have given.’

Neil Churchill, chief executive of Asthma UK and chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition- a group of 25 charities for people with long term conditions – said the coalition government should now bring England in line with the rest of the UK.

He said: ‘This decision shows that with a strong political will you can meet patient expectations even in tough financial times.’

Credit: Scottish Government Nicola Sturgeon