People in Scotland are saving on average over £173 a year on their prescriptions compared to patients in England, according to new analysis.
The figures from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) show the average Scot receives 19 prescriptions per year.
Meanwhile, the price of a single prescription in England will rise in April by 15p to £9.15. The cost of a pre-payment prescription certificate will also go up to £29.65 (up 55p) for a three month certificate and £105.90 (up £1.90) for twelve months.
In 2011, the SNP abolished prescription charges leaving Tory-run England the only part of the UK to charge patients for their medicine.
So far, calls for the UK Government to follow suit and abolish charges in England have fallen on deaf ears.
Commenting, SNP MSP Alex Neil said: “The NHS is our most important public resource and healthcare should always remain free at the point of use.
“Prescription charges were nothing more than a tax on ill health and I’m proud that thanks to the SNP ordinary Scots who are sick or living with long-term illnesses do not have to choose between medication and other necessities.
“But in England, the Tories are putting the future of the health service at risk by opening up our NHS to US-style privatisation, continuing to charge families a small fortune for vital medication.
“People are better off with the SNP, and only the SNP will keep Scotland’s NHS safe in public hands.”
Can I get free prescriptions on Universal Credit?
The rules surrounding Universal Credit and free prescriptions in England can be complicated to understand and there have been several news reports of people who have fallen foul of these new rules.
According to NHS England: You qualify if, on the date you claim help with health costs, either of these apply:
a) you receive Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period.
b) you receive Universal Credit, which includes an element for a child, or you (or your partner) had limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), and you either had no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period.
Note: If you’re part of a couple, the net earning threshold applies to your combined net earnings.
You should present a copy of your Universal Credit award notice to prove your entitlement. You’ll need to have met the eligibility criteria in the last completed Universal Credit assessment period before your health costs arose.
Visit the GOV.UK website for more information about the Universal Credit assessment period.
Not all help with health costs claim forms have a tick box for Universal Credit. If that’s the case, you should tick the box for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance instead.
Disclaimer: The above qualifying criteria is directly quoted from the NHS England website.