The Government has been urged to “urgently” review the list of people who are entitled to free NHS prescriptions.
The Prescription Charges Coalition has raised concerns that some people are forced to choose between medication and food.
The coalition is calling on the Government to scrap prescription charges for people with long-term conditions in England.
Patients in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all entitled to free prescriptions.
In England, patients need to pay for their prescriptions – with a single prescription item now costing £9.35.
Many people are exempt from paying for prescriptions.
However, the coalition has warned the majority of people who pay for their medication are working-age adults with long-term conditions.
Here is a list of people who are entitled to free prescriptions in England:
– people aged 60 and over
– children under 16
– Teenagers aged 16 to 18 who are in full-time education
– Pregnant women and mothers of babies up to one year of age
– NHS hospital patients
– Some benefit recipients
– Some veterans
– Those with specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate
The coalition said that aside from the addition of cancer in 2009, the list of exempt conditions has not changed since 1968.
The list of conditions include:
– People with cancer who are undergoing treatment
– Some patients with diabetes
– Epilepsy patients who need continuous anticonvulsive therapy
– Those with a continuing physical disability which means they cannot go out without the help of another person
– Those with hypoparathyroidism and myxoedema (hypothyroidism which needs thyroid hormone replacement)
– People who have myasthenia gravis
– Those with a permanent fistula which needs continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
– Patients with a form of hypoadrenalism for which specific substitution therapy is deemed “essential”