SCRAP Prescription Charges

The weblog of the Scottish Campaign to Remove All Prescription Charges. Keeping you updated on all the news about Colin Fox MSP's bill to the Scottish Parliament.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Progress of the Bill to Scrap Prescription Charges

A message from Colin Fox MSP:

The Prescription Charges Bill is in the middle of its scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament Health and Finance Committees and I think we can say things are going well for us.

Two weeks ago 14 witnesses were called to appear in front of the Health Committee in its first evidence taking session. Fourteen of them supported our Bill!

Last week I was called in front of the Finance Committee to give evidence on the financial side and to answer questions on the Bills Financial Memorandum.

You can read my submission to last weeks Finance Committee here. And the official record of the Finance Committee [ 8th Nov] is available on the Scottish Parliament website here.

This week the Health Committee is on a fact finding visit to Wales to speak to them about why they decided to abolish the charges there and to see what the effect has been of the reduced rates. I am confident that the benefits will be clear to them.

Next week [Tues 29th] is the crunch meeting as both the Minister for Health [or more likely his deputy Lewis McDonald] and I will appear in front of the Health Committee to give evidence in what will be the crunch meeting.

I expect the full debate in Parliament to be in mid to late January. We are drawing nearer to the abolition of prescription charges.

posted by Alister at 4:00 pm

Monday, November 21, 2005

MSPs in Wales on prescription fact-finding trip


MSPs in Wales on fact-finding trip

MSPs will meet doctors and pharmacists in Wales during a two-day fact-finding visit to the country.

Members of the Scottish Parliament's Health Committee have made the trip to learn more about the pledge by the Welsh Assembly to abolish prescription charges by 2007. A Bill put forward by Socialist MSP Colin Fox seeks the same for Scotland.

Health Committee convenor and SNP member Roseanna Cunningham will accompany Labour's Janis Hughes, Liberal Democrat Mike Rumbles and independent MSP Dr Jean Turner on the visit.

They will meet GPs and community pharmacists before making a trip to the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday.

There they will meet the minister for health, Dr Brian Gibbons, and report back to the committee with their findings.

Ms Cunningham said: "This fact-finding visit will give us a valuable insight into the abolition of prescription charges in Wales.

"We are keen to hear more about how this has worked so we can scrutinise the Bill with this knowledge.

"The visit also provides a useful opportunity to meet key figures from another devolved legislature including Dr Brian Gibbons."

Scottish Socialist leader Colin Fox introduced the member's Bill earlier this year, urging the Scottish Parliament to follow the Welsh Assembly's lead and scrap charges.

The MSP said thousands of patients were going without treatment because they could not afford their medicine.

posted by Alister at 9:28 am

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Prescription Charges Bill Goes To Committee

The bill to scrap prescription charges goes to the Scottish Parliament health committee today.

Colin Fox MSP has also defended his bill against the Scottish Pharmaceutical Federation who have reversed their 50 year opposition to the charges.


Mr Fox said that prescription charges were a "tax on the sick".

He said: "It is only the sick who pay for them. The NHS should be funded out of our general taxes.

"Nobody defends the status quo. The system of exemptions seems to be irrational, illogical and acting against the founding principles of the National Health Service."

The SSP leader described the exemption system as "complete nonsense".

He said that MSPs in the Scottish Parliament who are over 60 qualified for free prescriptions as did the wealthy author JK Rowling, who has just had a baby.

However, there are 27,000 people on benefits who do not qualify, he said.

posted by Alister at 9:46 am