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HealthNHS POLL: Should free prescriptions be axed for those aged 60?

NHS POLL: Should free prescriptions be axed for those aged 60?

NHS explain what a Prescription Prepayment Certificate is

Plans to raise the qualifying age to 66 would leave 2.4 million people aged 60-65 with an extra charge of £9.35 per item. The government website promoted a survey on raising the age for free prescriptions from July 1 to September 3, and now Downing Street is assessing the public feedback.

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In response, a petition has been created to protect free prescriptions for those over 60, in anticipation of legislative change.

Charities such as Age UK have made it clear that a decision to raise the qualifying age would be immoral and risk plunging the elderly and carers into debt and poverty.

The company argues that changing the exemption would cost the UK more in the long-run due to people forgoing their medications if they cannot afford them and becoming sicker.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: “Earlier this week the Secretary of State for health and social care, Sajid Javid MP, called on families to do more to help their loved ones, seemingly unaware that his own department is considering a policy change which, if implemented, will hit many thousands of brilliant carers in their early and mid-sixties really hard.

“It’s a juxtaposition that makes no sense at all and a real kick in the teeth for older carers.

“Mr Javid is new to the job so may not yet realise that a massive one in four of all 60 to 65-year-olds is a carer, often for an ageing parent, sometimes for a partner or a sick or disabled adult child.

“The government cannot have it both ways: if it is serious about valuing carers – people who sacrifice so much and who save the country billions a year as a result – it should shelve the idea of making any 60 to 65-year-old who is not exempt pay for their prescriptions.”

qualifying age for free prescriptions

Is it fair to raise the qualifying age for free prescriptions to mirror the State Pension age? (Image: Getty)

The State Pension can now be claimed at 66-years-old, and government officials argue that free prescriptions need to be “aligned” with the State Pension age.

With improved health services and an ageing population, the State Pension age is also set to rise in the future, with legislation in place to increase it to 67 and then to 68 in future years.

A health department spokesman defended the plan by reminding Britons that the age requirement for free prescriptions in England has not changed since 1974 for women, and 1995 for men.

He added: “We continue to protect the most vulnerable and support is available for those on a low income and on certain benefits.”

Do you think it is a reasonable suggestion to raise the age for free prescriptions considering the policy has not been updated in decades? Vote now.

Can’t see the poll below? Click here.

The plan hopes to raise an extra £300million for the NHS by 2026/27, in a bid to fund much-needed reforms to the UK’s health care system.

National Insurance has also risen by 1.25 percent and extended to include earning pensioners for the first time ever.

If Boris Johnson decides to hit over-60s with new charges for medicines, in the same year as a major tax rise, there will certainly be uproar from the British Public.

However, the pandemic has thrown the UK into £2.21trillion of national debt, and the Conservative government are forging tax rise plans to salvage the current economic crisis.

READ MORE: Sunak urged to bring in one-off wealth tax to plug £2.21tn debt

During his speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Rishi Sunak acknowledged that taxation is necessary and for the greater good.

Mr Sunak said: “I have to be blunt with you, our recovery comes with a cost.

“Our national debt is almost 100 percent of GDP, so we need to fix our public finances.

“Whilst I know that tax rises are unpopular, some will even say un-Conservative, I’ll tell you what is un-Conservative, un-funded pledges, reckless borrowing, and soaring debt.”

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But would forcing over 60s to pay for medication be a good way to fund Covid recovery? Vote now.

Currently, people can buy a prescription certificate to cut their costs, at £108.10 a year, working out at just over £2 per week.

However, this Prescription Pre-payment Certificate (PPC) requires either up-front payment or setting up a direct debit, something which many older people may not be able to facilitate.

Stay up to date with Brexit, the SNP and news from Number 10 by signing up for the free politics newsletter here: /newsletter-preference-centre

Source: Daily Express

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