Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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MP backs scrapping prescription charges for long-term health conditions

Dudley North MP Ian Austin is backing a Parliamentary campaign to scrap prescription charges for everyone in England with a long-term health condition.

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Austin threw his weight behind the campaign after being contacted by people in Dudley about new research showing the move could save the NHS millions and improve people’s health.

Research by commissioned by Parkinson’s UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK, showed savings of more than £20 million per year if the NHS scrapped prescriptions for people with Parkinson’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease alone.

Savings would be made from a reduction in health complications due to people not taking their medication as prescribed: previous research has shown around a third of people with long term conditions who pay for prescriptions do not pick up or take their medication properly due to the cost.

The £20 million would be saved by reductions in hospital admissions, inpatient days, A&E visits and GP appointments.

Austin expressed his concerns in Parliament this week that not everyone with a long-term condition in England was entitled to free prescriptions, despite the projected government savings.

Ian Austin said:

“I looked into this after being contacted by people in Dudley affected by these conditions. This is an extremely important report, highlighting a significant problem for so many people with long-term conditions in Dudley.

“People here already lose out as they do not get free prescription like they do in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“The NHS has a list of conditions that exempt people from paying prescriptions, but this hasn’t been updated since its creation in 1968.

“Over the past five decades there has been significant medical progress but this list is stuck in the past, omitting so many conditions that were undiscovered or had very short life expectancy at the time. I am committed to ensuring people in Dudley with long-term conditions are treated fairly.

“The system needs urgent reform to ensure people with long-term conditions get the vital medicines they need and to deliver value for money for the tax payer.”

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