St Helens South and Whiston MP, Marie Rimmer, has joined forces with Parkinson’s UK to 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 over 600 people in St Helens and Knowsley and while medication allows people to manage their condition there is currently no cure.
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, is campaigning for the current exemption list to be reviewed.
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 per cent ended up in hospital. Ms Rimmer recently met with the charity and a number of people suffering with Parkinson’s to discuss their concerns.
Ms Rimmer said: “Currently 90 per cent of prescriptions in England are given out free of charge. The remaining 10 per cent is shouldered almost entirely by working people with long term conditions. This is completely inequitable and unfair.
“The Medical Exemption List, drafted almost 50 years ago, is out of date and illogical.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 Health Secretary must urgently review current criteria to include all those with long term conditions.”
Policy and campaigns programme manager at Parkinson’s UK, Laura Cockram, said: “We’re delighted Marie Rimmer 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 Marie to raise awareness of
this issue and push for change.”
For advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call the free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.