Free Prescriptions: People aged 60 and Over

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons on 18th January 2022.

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Photo of Sarah Green Sarah Green Liberal Democrat, Chesham and Amersham

If he will make it his policy that prescriptions will remain free for people aged 60 and over.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

At the present time, no decision has been made to increase the upper age exemption for free prescriptions.

Photo of Sarah Green Sarah Green Liberal Democrat, Chesham and Amersham

Such a policy change would hit a vulnerable age bracket who are more likely to have one or more long-term illnesses requiring medication. A constituent of mine has told me of his concern at the cost of paying for his wife’s Parkinson’s medication, should such a change be introduced. Given that the millions facing a new charge will also be hit by a rise in living costs, will the Secretary of State shelve such proposals and review the list of conditions that qualify for a medical exemption certificate?

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Can I just reinforce the answer I have just given? There is no decision to increase the upper age exemption for free prescriptions, and the rumour circulating that the Government are removing free prescriptions for pensioners is completely false. The Government are absolutely committed to maintaining free prescriptions for pensioners.

Photo of Stephen Metcalfe Stephen Metcalfe Conservative, South Basildon and East Thurrock

I am very pleased to hear that no decision has been made on this important topic, and I hope the situation remains as it is. Will my hon. Friend take this opportunity to remind those who are paying for their prescriptions that a pre-payment certificate is available that can save a significant amount of money for those who regularly use their pharmacy?

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and he does well to highlight the pre-payment certificate. If people go for a 12-month certificate, which is about £2 a week, for two items they can save £116.30 and for three items, £228.50, so it is well worth the investment.