Britons hit back over free prescription age change proposals – ‘disgusting!’

NHS explain what a Prescription Prepayment Certificate is

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Free prescription changes may be enacted by the Government this year, following a consultation on the matter. The alteration could see the free prescription age, currently set at 60 in England, rise to align with state pension age. If the plans were to go ahead, it would potentially mean Britons have to wait an extra six years, or even more, to avoid NHS payments.

It is worth noting these payments are only made in England, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offer all their residents free prescriptions at any age.

The prospect of changes to free prescriptions has been met with much backlash. 

However, despite the controversy, there is still a level of differing opinions on the matter.

A recent poll undertaken by Express.co.uk asked ‘Should the free prescription age rise?’

A total of 1,612 readers responded to the poll, making their opinions on the matter known.

Some 82 percent of those asked said there should not be a rise to the age, and it should remain at its current level of 60.

Indeed, an additional 10 percent of those who responded said the free prescription age should actually decrease from its current level. 

Several Express.co.uk readers expressed their opinion in this regard. 

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Gwyneth said: “Not only have I been denied my pension, but now they want to charge for prescriptions.

“I worked all my life, and now suffer with a neurological condition and can’t work. Thanks for nothing!”

Grummer stated: “And how many who can’t afford it will give up their medications?”

Myrrdin questioned: “How much will it cost when people visit the doctor, go to pick up a prescription and then not be able to pay for it? How many will avoid their doctors and clog up A and E?”

And SMusket raged: “Disgusting Government to come up with this money saving s***.”

However, not all were against the potential proposals to change the free prescription age.

A total of eight percent of people asked supported the idea of raising the free prescription age to align with state pension age. 

Mr. AlwaysRight remarked: “There are plenty of rich pensioners who should not get free prescriptions.

“It should be only those on means tested benefits who get free prescriptions. 

“The rest can get a pre-prescription payment or fill in an HC1 form on low income.”

This was an opinion shared by RebelRob who suggested: “Just get the Prescription  Prepayment Certificate for £108.10 for 12 months. Just over £2 a week.”

And user Mikeey195 said: “If you work, you pay! Simple.”

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It has not yet been made public whether changes will go ahead, however, Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown believes the alteration could come into force as soon as April.

She said: “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.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “Around 90 percent of community prescriptions in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60, or have certain medical conditions.

“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link between this and the state pension age. No final decisions have been made and we will publish the consultation response in due course.”

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