This is a great campaign that makes so much sense on so many levels. We’ve been honoured to help publicise this movement and will continue to help them keep up the pressure on the Government.

Many working age people have told the campaign team that prescription charges are yet another hurdle they must contend with. Facing tough choices between paying for food and heating, or paying for essential medicine.

Anna Argyrides Policy and Campaigns Assistant at Parkinson UK

Here are Anna’s thoughts and views on the campaign.

“On Sunday, June 10th earlier this year, The Medical Exemption List was 50 years old. The list determines who is exempt from prescription charges – and who must pay. In that time, advances in medicine have been remarkable, yet five decades on, the list remains largely unchanged. It is glaringly obvious that the list is no longer in step with the needs of people with long-term conditions.

Throughout our campaign, we have heard from thousands of people, who have been forced to make impossible decisions so they can afford their life saving medication. These stories show the profound personal impact prescription charges have on peoples day to day lives and their ability to manage their condition safely.”

“As we have just passed the 50th anniversary, we look back at our campaign highlights and ahead at our future plans to keep the pressure on Government to scrap prescription charges for all long-term conditions. The lead up to the anniversary had seen thousands of supporters rally behind the campaign. Our petition launched in February, was 22,281 voices strong and we have been overwhelmed by the response from supporters who let us know how much this campaign has meant to them.

On 5th June, campaigners from Parkinson’s UK, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Asthma UK, The National Rheumatoid Society and Colitis UK headed to 10 Downing Street to deliver the petition.”

A false economy. “As so many people tell us, prescription charges are a barrier to accessing medicine. Last summer, a third of respondents to a survey reported that they have skipped or reduced doses due to cost. By ending charges for people with long-term conditions, the NHS would see a reduction in GP visits, emergency hospital admissions and inpatient days.

In May, new research by the Prescription Charges Coalition, carried out by the York Economics Health Consortium (YEHC) confirmed what many of us had suspected for quite some time: scrapping prescription charges for people with long-term conditions could save the NHS money. The research showed savings of more than £20 million per year for just two conditions, Parkinson’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It shows that prescription charges for long-term conditions are in fact a false economy, costing the NHS more than the revenue they bring in.

We launched the report in parliament on 23 May and with the help of our supporters (2000 of you contacted more than 500 MPs to ask them to meet with us!), we met with 40 cross-party MPs on the day who were interested to hear about the potential savings to the NHS an updated exemption list could bring.”

Looking ahead. “The Medical Exemption List is arbitrary and remains grossly out of date. Armed with the new research and thousands of passionate supporters we have plans to keep this issue firmly on the public agenda. Make sure you sign up for our mailing list to stay informed.”