To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what impact assessment his Department has made of (a) the equity of access to free prescriptions in the devolved nations and the cost for prescriptions in England and (b) the 30 per cent. increase in cost of a single prescription since 2010; and for what reason the consultation on the proposal to align the upper age exemption for NHS prescription charges with the State Pension Age closed on 2 September 2021, during the parliamentary recess.
No impact assessment has been made on the equity of access to free prescriptions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the cost of prescriptions in England. Health issues, including the level of the prescription charge and who pays for them, are devolved matters and as such the devolved administrations have full discretion over how they spend their budgets and the day-to-day administration of health.
The prescription charge increase is agreed and implemented annually so no impact assessment covering the period since 2010 has been made.
The public consultation was launched as soon as practicable to seek views on this very important proposal. The consultation ran for 9 weeks and received 117,562 responses.