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Friday, August 17, 2007

Savlon and Gaviscon

This morning's Western Mail continues that paper's reports on the abuse of free prescriptions in Wales. They tells us that patients have visited their doctors to claim free tubes of Bonjela and pots of Vaseline on the NHS. These items cost just a couple of pounds from pharmacies and supermarkets but were issued on a free prescription within the first month of the scheme’s introduction:

A snapshot of prescribing behaviour in April and May also reveals that patients claimed other popular over-the-counter medicines such as hay fever sprays, indigestion and diarrhoea tablets and athlete’s foot creams.

The findings come just a day after the Western Mail revealed that the number of prescription items claimed by patients rocketed by 3m last year, coinciding with prescription fees falling to £3 in Wales.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Jenny Randerson, hits the nail on the head yet again when she tells the paper that “Free prescriptions for all sounds great on election leaflets, but, in reality, the drugs budget is finite.

“Now the election is over the consequences of this policy are becoming painfully clear.

Last year I warned that free prescriptions would mean more Beechams powder for millionaires and less people getting the help they need.

“Labour brought this in with claims it would help a healthier Wales move towards full employment – in reality it will lead to more demands on GPs’ time, longer waiting lists and less money for expensive new cancer drugs.”

Surely, an official review is necessary.
Shouldn't we trust GPs to assess whether a prescription is necessary for strictly medical reasons?

At least the present situation is better than the one where sufferers from some chronic conditions were not entitled to free prescriptions.

- Frank Little
Yes, agreed. However, prior to the new regime 85% of prescriptions were already free. Under alternative proposals put forward by the Welsh Lib Dems then those with chronic conditions not already caught by that provision would also have got their medicine free of charge. Others, who could afford it, would still have had to pay.
I agree entirely with Peter,

This is the classic example of where gimmicky, Welsh Labour/Plaid(same thing now) rubbish has caused damage to the country.

When every patient has their operation on time, when every hospital remains open, when every cancer drug can be paid for, then and only then should we be paying for millionaires paracetamol. This is a national disgrace and I am pleased that the Lib Dems opposed it despite knowing that Labour would use it against them in the elections.
I'm sure that Plaid Cymru will be stocking up on free prescription bandages and plasters to stick up the cracks rapidly appearing in their two coalitions with Labour - one at the Assembly in Cardiff Bay and t'other at Swansea Council PLC. The latter is soon to split in a roll of thunder we are reliably informed as the parents at the Ysgolion Gymraeg Abertawe and "RHAG" are really going to gun down Cllr Darren Price (from Hendy) in Swansea for his support of the anti Welsh West Cross Labour Councillors. The Baby Faced Plaid Leader in Swansea's glory days are numbered after school restarts in September and these extremely irate parents get back together. We have it on reliable sources that "old" Plaid in Swansea will dump Darren back into Hendy very soon. As for other free prescriptions - someone said we should ask if Adam Price MP avails himself of one of the other products listed. What's meant by that? I don't know! Any answers?
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