Surgical Dressings

Health written question – answered on 14th January 2014.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that wound dressings should be provided free of charge for patients in post-operative care who have been discharged from hospital.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

There are no plans to change the current prescription charging arrangements for dressings supplied to patients in post-operative care who have been discharged from hospital.

In 2010, responding to Professor Ian Gilmore's review into extending entitlement to free prescriptions to all those with a long-term condition, the Government made it clear that in the light of the challenging financial context, no changes would be made to the current list of exemptions. Prescription charges in England raise valuable income, in the region of £450 million each year, which helps the national health service to maintain vital services for patients.

An extensive range of exemptions, based on age, income and medical condition, are already in place to support those who may struggle to pay for their prescriptions. Around 90% of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge. Prescription Prepayment Certificates (PPCs) are also available for those who have to pay NHS prescription charges and need multiple prescriptions. With the annual PPC, someone can obtain as many items as they need for £2 a week. The price of the annual certificate has now been frozen for the fourth successive year, and the three-month PPC has been frozen for two years.

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