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George: Scrap universal free prescriptions

Created on 10/04/2017 @ 15:00
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Montgomeryshire Assembly Member Russell George has called on the Welsh Government to scrap universal free prescriptions.

The no charge policy is marking its 10th anniversary since being introduced but Mr George said that the Welsh Government must move towards a more “just and affordable” model.

“Universal free prescriptions are a good and noble idea if you have a bottomless well of cash, but clearly this just isn’t the case for the Welsh NHS,” said Mr George, claiming that last year the health service in Wales spent a record-breaking £593.7m on free prescriptions.

“With many residents in North Powys contacting me saying that they are waiting months and, in some cases, years for an operation, surely some of this money would be better spent elsewhere rather than subsidising prescriptions for those who can clearly afford to make a contribution.

“It surely cannot be right that £5.1m was spent on paracetamol last year - something which can be bought for mere pennies in supermarkets - while some patients were denied potentially life-saving cancer medication on the basis of cost.

“That is why on this policy’s 10-year anniversary, my Party (Conservatives) is calling on the Welsh Government to move towards a more just and affordable model for prescribing medicines.

“Put simply, people who can afford to pay for their medicine should pay, while those who cannot afford to pay, or live with long-term chronic conditions, should still be able to benefit from free medicine. The NHS can no longer be treated like a buffet cart.”


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