In an exclusive interview, Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, said the group opposed plans to increase the NHS ‘free prescription age. He explained that for many people, it is in their 60s when they start needing to start taking medication for health problems or trying to prevent various conditions. “They are starting to have to take more and more drugs to prevent more serious illnesses,” he said.
“So saving a few million pounds here and there is madness …”
It is not just the ability of people to choose not to take certain medications that have been prescribed to them that worries members of Mr. Reed and Silver Voices, however. Another concern is the potential for future age changes.
Currently, the legal retirement age for both men and women is 66, but more changes are coming to bring this age up to 67 and then 68.
And for Mr Reed, there are fears that this means the NHS free prescription age would rise as well.
âIt’s worrying because once you go down that road, which is the government won’t go, ‘Well people are living longer, so let’s bring a free prescription to it. ‘age 70’ in a few years?
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“So it’s a slippery slope, which we don’t want to see. We don’t want to see anybody start saying that.”
The government website says that “aligning the upper age for NHS prescription fee exemptions with the state’s retirement age” is now a closed consultation.
He indicated that following the consultation, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs will collect and review all responses to the consultation. The ministry will then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs, who will decide whether to implement the proposed changes and, if so, which of the options set out in the recent consultation will be implemented. artwork.
He confirmed that the results of the consultation will generally be released within three months of the consultation closing date.
Earlier this month, health charities, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Geriatrics Society came together to issue an open letter, urging the government to rethink its proposal to increase the age required for free prescriptions in England from 60 years. to 66.
The letter underscored “a deep shared concern” that removing free prescription fees for those aged 60 to 65 would likely intensify existing health inequalities and have a devastating impact on the health of some older people.
Caroline Abrahams, charity manager at Age UK, said: “The money the government is raising if it goes ahead with this proposal will easily be offset by the extra costs to the NHS though, as can be. Predictably, some people don’t take their meds and get sicker, faster.
âTens of thousands of people may require hospital treatment due to the rationing of what they take, so it is truly a bad idea that will hit poor people and those on modest incomes the hardest.
âOnce we hit our early to mid-60s, our doctors advise many of us to take drugs that are shown to safely keep potentially serious health problems under control.
âIf the government goes ahead with its proposal, it is clear that some people will be reluctant to act on the symptoms or get a diagnosis for fear that they will not be able to afford long term symptom relief or even , in some cases, life-saving drugs. The government should certainly think again.
Thorrun Govind, chairman of the board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy, said they may need more medication.
âIt is unacceptable to increase the cost of prescriptions in the current economic situation when many have been disadvantaged by the pandemic. Such proposals will only reinforce the health inequalities that have been highlighted by COVID-19.
âRPS wants prescription fees to be completely abolished in England, regardless of age group, as is the case in Scotland and Wales. “
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Welfare told Express.co.uk AT THE TIME: âThe ages of people getting free prescriptions in England have not changed since 1974 for women and 1995 for men. prescription costs with state retirement age.
âWe continue to protect the most vulnerable and support is available for low-income people and those on certain benefits.
“Almost 90 percent of community-dispensed prescription items in England in 2019 were free, and there are other exemptions for certain medical conditions and for pregnant women or new mothers.”
The ministry said the consultation proposed no further changes to the existing exemption fees.