Layla Moran MP and Munira Wilson MP have called on the Government to urgently waive the NHS prescription levy for all medication and patients, following conversations with NHS professionals and community pharmacists.
NHS England is yet to announce any additional resources to support pharmacies at this difficult time, when millions of patients now require deliveries of medicines because they are in isolation. Pharmacists argue that time spent administrating the levy and taking payments over the phone would be better spent securing and providing medication.
The current prescription charge is £9 per item but is due to rise again to £9.15 per item on the 1st April.
Lib Dem Leadership Candidate Layla Moran MP commented:
“We are calling for an immediate suspension of the NHS prescription levy. It is the right and compassionate thing to do at a time when so many people are worried about their health, their jobs, and putting food on the table.
“A temporary freeze would greatly help pharmacies, too. They are already struggling to ensure the supply of essential medicines to patients during the coronavirus emergency. Wholesale costs of medicines are escalating daily and supplies of products such as thermometers and even paracetamol are impossible to obtain.
Lib Dem Health Spokesperson, Munira Wilson MP, commented:
“Suspending the levy is the sensible thing to do. Under current plans the NHS would also be asking patients who are isolated at home to make a telephone call to the pharmacy to arrange for payment. This would be a massive drain on frontline capacity, along with administration of the payment system itself.
“Pharmacists' capacity would be better focused on the essential task of ensuring patients can get their medicines, advice and support - rather than administrating the levy. The Government must play their part in helping people and pharmacies by waiving the prescription levy for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis”