Free prescriptions in Scotland to benefit diabetes patients

Fri, 04 Mar 2011
The introduction of free prescriptions in Scotland from next month is set to benefit the thousands of people suffering from diabetes . The launch of the free service fulfils an election pledge by the SNP-led government to abolish prescription charges for all in the country.

The move will signal the end of the current GBP3 charge for each item, a cost that had been coming down for the last few years in Scotland, and is in line with Wales and Northern Ireland, where prescription charges have already been removed.

Although Tory and Liberal Democrat MSPs tried to prevent the changeover, the support of the Health Committee at Holyrood should prove enough for it to become legislation over the next few days.

First Minister Alex Salmond commented "This is a momentous day marking four years' work in gradually reducing the burden on Scots paying for prescriptions. The abolition of these charges from April 1 recognises the fact that during these difficult economic times, no person should see cost as a barrier to access to prescription medication ."

He added "At times of economic difficulty, the last people we should be penalising are the sick. We want to restore the NHS to its founding principles - healthcare that's based on clinical need, not the ability to pay."

The charity Diabetes UK Scotland have also stated that a lack of free prescriptions would have meant that one in five people with diabetes being forced to lower their medication.
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