Government to ‘U-turn on axing free prescriptions for over-60s’
The Government will abandon plans to end free prescriptions for patients aged between 60 and 65, the newspaper i reported earlier today (March 16).
The plans to raise the eligibility age for free prescriptions from 60 to 66, which were first proposed in 2021 amid claims the move would save £6bn, have attracted a significant backlash in recent days from charities and campaigners who warned of the impact this could have on over-60s living with long-term health conditions.
The move to align prescription charge exemptions with the current state pension age of 66 would have seen 60-65 year olds charged for prescription for the first time since 1995.
However, a source within the Department of Health and Social Care told i: “We are not going ahead with this idea.”
The newspaper reported that official public communications will follow in “the next few weeks”.
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “It is remarkable that the Conservatives were even considering hiking up a medicines tax on people approaching retirement, which would hit hardest those with long-term health conditions. What on earth were they thinking?”
The Government will still go ahead with plans to raise the per-item prescription fee for medicines and appliances from £9.35 to £9.65 from April.