Lancashire MP warns free prescriptions for those aged 60 - 66 could be at risk
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West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is urging the public to share their views on raising the age at which people qualify for free prescriptions.
Currently people qualify for free NHS prescriptions at the age of 60. But aGovernment consultation is seeking views on whether prescription fees should be brought in line with the state pension age, so that only those aged 66 and over will qualify for free prescriptions in the future.
The MP accused the Government of "trying to save itself money by turning its back on the over 60s" and urged members of the public to oppose the change.
She said: “This change will be a double whammy for WASPI Women, who have already had their state pension snatched from them and now may be forced to pay for NHS prescriptions as well.“
The Women Against State Pension Inequality group was formed after women's entitlement to a state pension at 60 was changed and the age of entitlement raised.
For men and women the state pension age is currently 66 but is scheduled to rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028.
Regarding the possible prescription fee changes Rosie Cooper claimed: “It is deeply disturbing that if this goes ahead, it will result in people being not taking prescribed medication because they can’t afford it.”
A statement on the Government's consultation web page said: "The government is consulting on aligning the upper age exemption for NHS prescription charges with the State Pension age (SPA). In 2019, around £600 million was generated in revenue from prescription charges for frontline NHS services. Currently, people receive free prescriptions when they turn 60 in England, whereas the SPA is now 66."
It continued: "The consultation is seeking views from the public and healthcare professionals on options for change including building in a period of protection so those aged between 60 to 65 can continue to benefit from free prescriptions if the upper age exemption rises."
To take part in the consultation which continues until 11.45 pm on September 2 see www.gov.uk/government/consultations/aligning-the-upper-age-for-nhs-prescription-charge-exemptions-with-the-state-pension-age or here . .
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