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It may seem like an easy win to end prescriptions for conditions like dandruff, athletes foot, and mouth ulcers on the grounds that people can buy them readily over the counter. However, not everyone can buy these treatments ‘readily’. Universal credit amounts to less than £75 per week. Are we really going to force the very poorest in society to give up a significant amounts of their limited income or expect them to live with flaky scalps, and itching toes. Even £5 is a lot for people in this situation. In England those who pay prescription charges will choose to buy over the counter because it is cheaper. The poor are exempt from these charges. This seems a sensible way to keep things.
The Chief Executive of NHS England,Simon Stevens says that we should “Think like a patient , act like a taxpayer”. I would suggest that we should also think with some humanity.
No competing interests
21 April 2018
Professor of Primary Care eHealth
University of Edinburgh
Usher Institute, 9, Bioquarter, Little France Road Edinburgh