.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, August 31, 2012

Spinning in opposition

Another example of spin this morning, this time from the opposition with yet more calls by the Welsh Tories to scrap free prescriptions in Wales.

The Western Mail reports that more than two and a half million additional prescription items were dispensed in Wales in the last year, That makes it the 11th year in a row that the number has gone up. In all 72.7 million prescription items were issued in 2011-2012, up from 70.1 million the previous year.

From the point of view of the Tories, this is more ammunition in their long campaign to reintroduce prescription charges in Wales. They say that Wales has the highest number of prescriptions per person and as a result it is now 35% more dependent on pills, tablets and ointments than the rest of the UK. They believe that a universal free prescriptions policy is unsustainable.

However, the facts paint a very different picture. The 58% increase in the number of medicines dispensed over 10 years in Wales compares to a 64% increase over the same period in England, where thet currently charge £7.65 per item. And as for the number of presriptions per head, Wales' dominence of this statistic has nothing to do with cost.

In fact, Wales has dispensed more prescriptions per head than England since as far back as 1973. We just have a sicker population. And, despite all of this the overall cost of issuing prescriptions in Wales actually fell from £594m last year to £587m in the latest figures.
There was an interesting article in the Economist which asked the question why do people in Glasgow die so much younger. Appears it is a very hard question to answer at a causal level, rather than drink,drug, poor diet and being generally miserable.

Be interested in where the statistic for "Wales being sicker" come from, I don't doubt it for a moment, but be interesting to see how statistically significant it is.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?