Friday, 2 February 2007

S2M-5472 Colin Fox (Lothians) (SSP) : prescription charges review

That the Parliament notes that it is now exactly one year since the Stage 1 debate on the Abolition of NHS Prescription Charges (Scotland) Bill and since when the Scottish Executive promised to come forward with proposals to increase the list of long-term conditions exempt from payment; further notes that Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care, Lewis Macdonald MSP, has stated that he acknowledged that “the current charge and exemption arrangements are no longer fit for purpose and that changes are necessary” and that “we will review the exemption arrangements for people with chronic conditions” but that no changes have been brought forward by the Executive in a year despite giving repeated assurances in parliamentary answers that a decision was imminent; believes that no promised proposal has emerged because all medical experts have warned the Executive not to try to list the many different chronic conditions in an order of those that are more “deserving” or “painful”; considers that this is precisely what would be needed in order to distinguish between those conditions which are to be exempt from charges and which are not; notes that in 40 years medical opinion has veered away from such an approach because it was simply not possible on medical grounds to make such a judgement; believes that the Executive has failed to keep a promise it made to the Parliament and has dashed the hopes of thousands of chronically ill patients, and reiterates its belief that the fairest and most sensible way forward is to follow the example of the Welsh Assembly and abolish the £6.75 prescription charge for every patient.

Lodged on 24 January 2007

Follow this link to read my letter in the Linlithgow Gazette

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