Rubbish of the day?

In a response to a quote by Helen Mary Jones that ".....aboloshing prescription charges has helped people in Wales gain access to the vital medicine they need" Dave at the Cynical Dragon says:

Less than 10% paid for prescriptions when they were abolished.

I'm not convinced of the veracity of the comment that only 10% of people had to pay prescription charges, before the abolition of prescription charges in Wales. I understand that the truth is that only 10% of the population had to pay ALL prescription charges. The remaining 90% included people who had pre-pay certificates, those who had their first prescription issued in a hospital rather than a pharmacy and those who were exempt from condition limited charges (such as ex-service personnel who were allowed free prescriptions relating to their war pension ailments, but not other conditions).

As Lyndon notes in a comment, the trouble with the old payment system was that it was arbitrary, illogical and of a completely unfair nature.

I am prescribed anticonvulsants. So, if I had won an Euro Lottery roll-over of £90 million and had invested it in a dodgy hedge fund that gave me a 1000% return, I STILL wouldn't have to pay the charges under the current English system.

If the NHS in Wales needs to re-introduce charges, then the charging system must be fair and equitable. Unfortunately the Assembly doesn't have the competence to introduce fair prescription charges at the moment.

If there are good economic arguments for reintroducing prescription charges (and I am not convinced that there are) then they cannot be reintroduced until the Assembly has the full competence to create fair and equitable charges. With the eLCO system of gaining competence for the Assembly being so long winded there are many more pressing issues that need to be dealt with ahead of this one!


  1. Fair points.

    I still think she's talking rubbish, the way she makes out that free prescriptions have somehow given people access to drugs they were dying without is dramatic to say the least.

    The old system was unfair and needs sorting out, I agree, however the 'free' prescription thing was a stunt.

    Bring it back, make it fairer, review the things that can be claimed...simple-ish.

  2. Dramatic makes good politics, and Helen is a politician at the end of the day so you can't blame her for trying!

    However her point isn't over the top!

    If you have congenitally high cholesterol levels, drugs known as "satins" can extend your life by over 60 years.

    Too many young kids (boys mostly) die in their teens and early twenties when a once a day tablet would have allowed them to live to a ripe old age.

    If you have a headache you know that you're feeling poorly, you also know that having taken a couple of aspirin that you feel better!

    The problem with congenital high cholesterol as an illness is that you don't feel bad with it and you don't feel better if you take the tabs that the doc gave you, and you don't feel worse if you don't take them and spend the £7 prescription charge on something else!

    Too many young men in Wales have died because the saw £7.50 as the cost of three pints rather the cost of a life saving prescription.

    Too many of them have been related to me, and I am glad that my visits to Glyntaf Crem have been reduced by virtue of the WAG free prescriptions policy.

    Call it dramatic, if you wish, I call it a blessing!

  3. Nonsens yw dweud "only 10%" of the population had to pay full prescription charges"

    Around 50%-60% of the population paid full prescription charges but they accounted for less than 10% of prescriptions. Don't fall for the spin.