‘Scared to death!’ Outrage as over 60s set to lose free NHS prescriptions

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Martin Lewis discusses prescription prepayment certificates

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The age at which someone has the right to free prescriptions in England could be raised to align with the state pension, according to the Government’s latest proposals. If these recommendations were to be carried out, those who would have qualified in their early 60s for extra support in paying for medications would now have to wait until they are 66 years old. Following our coverage of this story over the weekend, Express.co.uk readers are sharing their thoughts and experiences on the possibility of this change taking place.

One reader with the username Oak4 said: “I need medication every day. I’ve paid National Insurance every day of my working life in the mistaken belief I would be cared for in my old age.

“I am scared to death. My future: being in lockdown again and having to make a choice between heating, eating or paying for my prescription from the pittance of a pension we are allowed.

“First our free TV license goes. Now this. What next?”

On top of sharing their experiences, many readers criticised the proposal for being short-sighted in its regard for NHS care.

The provision of free prescriptions is considered a pre-emptive measure from stopping many vulnerable people from having to rely on attending NHS hospitals and appointments for continued care.

Rod1 added:: “I’ve paid in (National Insurance) for 40 years and before I reached 60 it seemed that I was the only one paying when I had the occasional prescription.

“Now at the age of 62, I take a daily pill for my prescription. If I have to pay, then I will write to my MP and GP and explain why I will not take that tablet.

“I will expect the NHS to pick up any resultant care costs that will be much higher than a pill I imagine.”

On top of this, readers criticised the UK Government for not allowing people in England to get prescriptions for free, a luxury which is afforded to those living in Scotland and Wales.

Due to their devolved Governments, both countries have separate health care powers which includes free prescriptions for all.

Specifically, readers called out the Barnett formula which is the mechanism used by the Treasury to adjust the amounts of spending allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

It is used to mirror shifts in spending levels allocated to public services in England, England and Wales.

On this issue, a reader with the username Let’s be great again stated: “The only reason Scotland and Wales get free prescriptions is because the English taxpayer subsidises them through the Barnett formula.

“If they can get free education and prescriptions then so should England. Alternatively cut the Barnett formula.”

PaulC added: “The same rules should apply across the whole of the UK. The annoying part is 45 million English are bankrolling the free prescriptions in Scotland and Wales.”

Addressing the potential political backlash of this proposal, Tellurium said: “By cancelling the triple lock for pensioners and now specifically targeting the over-60s in England. The Tories risk losing many seats in May – and they will deserve to.”

A reader named Nelson Montgomery agreed, writing: “It’s disgusting that those in England have to pay while those in Scotland and Wales don’t.

“They should pay too instead of again being subsidised by the rest of us. Totally abhorrent.”

Finally, one reader named Dogtag has a message for the Prime Minister. They wrote: “Boris says he wants to level things out. Well Boris, the people in England want free prescriptions to be on a level with Wales and Scotland.”

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