In the UK we are lucky to have our NHS and for those of us on benefits, have certain conditions or on low income are allowed free prescriptions to help them afford their healthcare. Admittedly most people only have a prescription now and again but for some people whose illness isn't covered with free prescriptions and they aren't entitled to it any other way, affording to buy the medicines you need can be expensive. The cost of a prescription in the UK is going up to £8.05 per item.
Last night I got wondering as to just how much my prescription costs would be for a year. To work this out, I had to take a look at what I was taking, how much of it and how many prescriptions I needed in a year for each item. Some items I have to only get 6 times in a year, some are twice that at 12 prescriptions a year, and that is before you consider any acute prescriptions I have (things like antibiotics and other medications or creams for my skin troubles). I worked out that I took about 50 tablets a day, plus nebs, inhalers and morphine. Its a full routine to take care of and it is in some ways a full time job for myself and my carer as the medications need to be given at certain times of the day and at certain intervals, but I digress.
I have a 6 page repeat prescription which has 24 items. Some items I do have to collect more often than others. I worked out that in total, my prescription costs (before acute) totals out to £1690.50 a year. Then when you add the extra "acute" meds as well, my costs come up by £668.15 and bring my total costs per year to £2358.65. I worked this out by working out how many items I had per year and how often. I have on average 210 items a year of repeats and 83 items a year acute. And that is just on this year's prices, but even so, that is not an amount to be sniffed at. If I wasn't on ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) then I would struggle to afford my medication and would have to make stark choices between whether I had my tablets to keep my conditions under control or not have them and die. I wonder how people who aren't entitled to free prescriptions feel when they have to pay for their health costs. Would they have to be "careful" with their medicines? Or go without to save money?
There are some conditions where you are entitled to free prescriptions. People with heart problems, thyroid problems and diabetes are entitled to free prescriptions as their conditions would be fatal if they went without. I believe that people with lung disorders like COPD and asthma should be covered in the same way. In the same way that if someone with a heart condition doesn't get their medicine, they can die, a person with asthma would die without having steady supply of their inhalers and other medications. Admittedly for me, it doesn't make much difference as I get my medications for free, but I am just one person. Asthma UK is trying to campaign for free prescriptions in the UK for asthma patients but the MP's seem reluctant to look at it.
The new government is all about saving money. Kicking people off sick benefits when they are no where near fit for work (I read a case recently about a woman who was in a coma who received note that she attend a work related activity!) or trying to cut costs any other way they can. It's horrible to think that they can treat humans in that way and make us work like dogs until we are beyond help. I have been lucky as I say and have avoided any problems in that respect but I want to raise awareness to those who are struggling and have to make ends meet regardless. I admire people who can make ends meet that way but I would love to see a day where no one has to suffer because they couldn't afford decent healthcare in this day and age. Especially when we have the NHS and other things in this country to prevent such a thing. In America, if you don't have the right insurance, you can be left to die at the side of the road, is this really what the UK will end up with again? I hope not.
3 years ago