03 Mar 2011

John Mason has welcomed yesterday’s Health Committee vote which means from April 1st prescriptions will be free for all patients in Scotland. When the SNP came to power a prescription cost £6.85. Since then it has gradually been reduced – it was lowered to £5 in 2008-09; £4 in 2009-10; £3 in 2010-11 and will be free from 1 April 2011.

John said, “I am delighted that thanks to the Scottish Government from April 1st prescriptions will be free at the point of use for the people of the East End of Glasgow. Prescription charges were an unnecessary tax on ill-health which put additional pressure on the family budget at a time when people were already suffering through sickness.

“The NHS was founded on the principle of free health care for everyone and I am pleased that the SNP has returned it to that state. It is reckoned there are 600,000 adults living in families in Scotland with an annual income of less than £16,000 who until now have not been entitled to free prescriptions. When times are tight the last people who should be paying are the sick.”

“This is another SNP promise fulfilled. It will improve the lives and health of people in Glasgow, saving them money at a time when so many families are hard pressed.”

Jane-Claire Judson, National Director of Diabetes UK Scotland, said:

“Diabetes UK Scotland is pleased to welcome free prescriptions for all as the simplest, clearest and fairest system, which will benefit people with diabetes.”

Gordon Brown, National Director of Asthma UK Scotland, said:

“Asthma UK Scotland welcomes the abolition of prescription charges for people with asthma. We know that there have been people with asthma in Scotland who failed to get all or some of their medicines dispensed due to the cost of prescription charges, particularly those on low incomes but who did not qualify for any type of exemption.”

Patients who buy annual pre-payment certificates will have saved £50, £60 and £70 respectively each year since the policy was introduced, representing a total saving of £180 over the three years.