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Staged end to Scottish prescription charges

Asthma UK Scotland has expressed disappointment at the Scottish Executive's decision not to scrap prescription charges with immediate effect.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon instead announced a series of cuts in the charges, ahead of their planned abolition in 2011.

The cost of a single prescription is to be cut by more than 25% in 2008, followed by further yearly reductions.

Shona Haslam, National Director, Asthma UK Scotland, said:

"We are disappointed that 60% of the 390,000 people with asthma in Scotland will continue to have to pay for their prescriptions, albeit it at reduced rates until they are actually abolished.

"We know that there are people who fail to get all or part of their medicines dispensed due to the cost of prescription charges. Limiting asthma treatment because of financial difficulty puts the health of people with asthma at risk. Under-treatment can lead to irreversible lung damage, lower quality of life, and an increase in both the frequency of asthma attacks and the burden on the NHS.

"However, we acknowledge that this is a complex issue and the announcement today is probably the most practical alternative to the immediate abolition of prescription charges for people with asthma."

Asthma UK

The proposals were announced on Wednesday.

In April of next year (2008) prescription charges will be reduced to £5.00, a cut of over 25%, with further phased reduction towards a total abolition of the charges in 2011.

Those people who suffer from chronic or long-term conditions will also benefit from an over 50% cut in the cost of prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs). All those who need to use regular medication are encouraged to use PPCs.

The Scottish Government