Belfast Telegraph

'Most agree with prescription fees'

Charging for prescriptions should be reintroduced, a patients' group has said.

The tariff could help alleviate financial pressure on the health service, the small Patient and Client Council survey added.

Using more generic drugs would also contribute to saving cash, the lobby group said.

Chief executive Maeve Hully said: "This report demonstrates that the public in Northern Ireland are prepared to make a meaningful contribution to support their health and social care services.

"Given the current financial situation, people are prepared to accept a small charge for prescriptions. This is in the knowledge that people with long-term conditions are exempt from this charge."

A total of 401 people completed this month's survey, People's Views About Prescription Charging And Products Available On Prescription.

It found that the criteria for exempting people from paying for prescriptions should be reviewed if charging was reintroduced.

The report said: "Many of the respondents are also aware of the potential flaws in the system. Free prescriptions are seen by some to be an invitation to abuse and waste. Others feel that free prescriptions are essential in ensuring that people can access treatment when they need it."

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From Belfast Telegraph