Claire Anderson.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society on Tuesday expressed concern over the latest increase in prescription charges.

Following the announcement of a 15p increase from April 1, English Pharmacy Board Chair Claire Anderson warned of a situation that forces more people to ration or completely go without their medicines.

“Raising the amount people have to pay for their prescriptions is deeply concerning. People now may not be able to afford their prescriptions and shouldn’t be in a position where they have to ration or completely go without their medicines. This could lead to more people becoming ill and would only put more strain on an already stretched NHS,” Anderson said.

“As a member of the Prescription Charges Coalition, the RPS continues to campaign against prescription charges for people with long-term medical conditions. Prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so it seems so unfair that patients must pay for their medicines in England.”

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) also warned about the risk of raising the script fee.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: “Prescription charges represent a Government tax which community pharmacy teams have to collect: as health professionals, we would like to see their time being better spent on the provision of advice and clinical services to NHS patients. Pharmacies report that many people already find it difficult to pay the prescription charge”.

“Whilst we recognise the financial pressures that the NHS is under, raising the prescription tax once again runs the risk of those most in need not getting their medicines – ultimately adding to the NHS bill elsewhere,” he added.

Pharma bodies have long been campaigning to scrap the prescription charges in England and many pharmacists are finding the increased amount, £9.15 difficult to handle in practice.

A pharmacist has tweeted that the round figure of £9 was so easy operationally.

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