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.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tell Your MSP: Scrap Prescription Charges

There has been widespread discussion in the media of the decision of the Scottish Parliament Health Committee to back Colin Fox's bill to scrap prescription charges.

We urge all supporters of the bill to contact their MSP's and let them know how you feel. Write to the newspapers, call the discussion programmes. We need to let the politicians in Holyrood know how strongly this bill is supported in Scotland.

Here is a selection of some of the commentary.

The Herald

A prescription for change
Editorial Comment January 12 2006

To join up with Wales, or stay with England? That is the question confronting Scotland's political class on the thorny issue of prescription charges. Colin Fox, the Scottish Socialist Party leader, has promoted a bill to abolish these charges. These will be phased out by the Welsh Assembly in 2007. The Scottish Executive is against abolition on grounds of cost, £45.4m a year and rising, and that those who can afford the £6.50 fee for each subscription should continue to pay (pre-payment is cheaper). One route out of this political impasse would be for the Scottish Parliament to debate and vote on Mr Fox's bill.

The Scotsman

ANDY Kerr, the health minister, was accused of "political expediency" last night after he rejected a cross-party attempt to get prescription charges scrapped for everyone in Scotland.

A Scottish Socialist Party bill to abolish the £6.50 prescription charge was backed by Holyrood's health committee yesterday, raising hopes among campaigners that Scotland would follow the lead set by Wales and abolish the charge.

But Mr Kerr said it would be wrong for the state to pay for a universal benefit for all and cover the costs of those who could afford to pay, arguing that it would be better to target money at those most in need.

Colin Fox, the SSP MSP who introduced the bill, said: "The health minister cannot have his cake and eat it. Recently we have seen the introduction of free care for the elderly along with eye and dental checks, all provided regardless of income.

"For Andy Kerr to then turn round and oppose abolishing NHS prescription charges because it would be a universal measure is a complete nonsense."

Daily Record

Fox said: "There is now unanimous agreement that the current system makes absolutely no sense.

"The question now is, do we tinker at the edges of a discredited exemption scheme or do we abolish it and go back to first principles?"

His party claim 75,000 Scots go without some or all of the medicine they need because of the cost.

Evening Times

LABOUR MSPs in Glasgow were today challenged to throw their weight behind abolishing prescription charges after the move was backed by Holyrood's health committee.
In a new report, the Parliament's influential health committee recommended the £6.50 charge should be ditched and replaced with free medicines.

SSP leader Colin Fox said scrapping prescription charges would be of particular benefit to people in Glasgow.
He issued this challenge: "Will Labour MSPs in Glasgow, the city with the highest levels of disability allowance and incapacity benefits in Britain, vote to deny their constituents free prescriptions?"
He urged them to follow their party colleagues in the Welsh Assembly who abolished prescription charges three years ago.
Mr Fox said: "The level of need in Glasgow and the west of Scotland means thousands of people are going without their prescription because they can't afford it."
He claimed 75,000 Scots were going without some or all of their medicines because they could not afford the £6.50 charges and an "overwhelming" proportion of them were in Glasgow.

posted by Alister at 9:08 am