Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner this week joined up with the charity Parkinson’s UK’s call for an end to unfair charges for people living with long-term medical conditions in England.
People with Parkinson’s, who remain in work, have to pay prescription charges for all the medication needed to manage their incurable and progressive long term condition.
Parkinson’s affects one in 500 people in Cambridge, and while medication allows people to manage their condition there is currently no cure.
Parkinson’s UK co-chairs the Prescription Charges Coalition, a group of over 40 organisations concerned about the impact of prescription charges on people of working age with long-term conditions who have to pay for their medication on an ongoing basis.
Research conducted by the coalition shows that more than a third of those with long-term conditions, who are paying for each prescription they receive, are rationing the medication they buy due to the cost. Of these, three quarters felt their health had got worse as a result and 10% ended up in hospital.
At Labour Party National Conference in Liverpool, Daniel Zeichner MP said; “Currently 90% of prescriptions in England are given out free of charge. This means the remaining 10% is shouldered almost entirely by working people with long term conditions. This is completely inequitable and unfair.
“The Medical Exemption List, which was drafted almost 50 years ago, is out of date and illogical. Excluding all people with long term conditions from prescription charges would improve individual health outcomes and reduce health service costs. The Secretary of State for Health must urgently review current medical exemption criteria to include all those with long term conditions.”
Policy and campaigns programme manager at Parkinson’s UK, Laura Cockram, said: “We’re delighted Daniel Zeichner MP is supporting our campaign for an urgent review of the prescription charges medical exemption list to include all those with long term conditions.
“People with Parkinson’s and other long term conditions are bearing the brunt of this unequal system, with devastating impact on their health. We are delighted that we can work together with Daniel Zeichner MP to raise awareness of this issue and push for change.”
For advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call our free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.