Page last updated at 10:14 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 11:14 UK

Prescription charges drop to 3 ahead of abolition

Bottles of pills generic
Prescription charges will be abolished in Scotland by 2011

Prescription charges have been cut in the final stage of phasing out before they are abolished next year.

A single prescription has fallen by £1 to £3, while a four-month pre-payment certificate (PPC) has been reduced from £13 to £10.

The charge for a 12-month PPC for those suffering from long-term conditions is now £28, a reduction of £10.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said free healthcare was the "founding principle" of the NHS.

She added: "In these tough economic times, hundreds of thousands of people are already better off thanks to our action and they will continue to be better off as we move to full abolition.

"Removing the prescription charge will ensure that cost is not a barrier to those needing to take the medication prescribed to them."

Key pledge

The phasing out of prescription charges was a key manifesto pledge of the SNP going into the 2007 election.

However Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said Scotland was now the only part of the UK where patients suffering from cancer have to pay for prescriptions.

Northern Ireland has abolished all prescription charges, joining Wales, while cancer prescriptions have been free in England for the past year.

Ms Baillie said: "It is unacceptable that patients here suffering from cancer have to pay for prescriptions when they are free in every other part of the UK.

"In Scotland, this debilitating illness not only threatens your life, but can also make you poor."

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