Welsh Patients Get Refund For Prescription Costs

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Welsh patients who are charged for prescriptions at hospitals in England after having treatment will be able to get a refund, announced Health Minister Edwina Hart.

At present, patients who have prescriptions from English hospital pharmacies have to pay for prescriptions at the English rate of ?7.20, if they are not exempt due to age or medical condition.

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Amendments will be made to the free prescriptions legislation so that patients who are treated in England can reclaim the cost of their prescriptions. In addition, the legislation will be amended to reflect the change in England that entitles cancer sufferers access to free prescriptions.

Mrs Hart said: "The majority of Welsh patients who live near the border and receive treatment in England benefit from free prescriptions because they use their entitlement card when they visit a pharmacy in Wales. However, there are still some patients who will need to have a prescription dispensed in England and therefore do not receive free prescriptions unless they are exempt under the regulations in England.

"It is unreasonable for Welsh patients who have no choice but to receive their hospital care in England to have to pay for prescriptions. Providing refunds for these patients is the simplest and least bureaucratic way of ensuring all Welsh patients benefit from our free prescriptions policy. Evidence suggests that about 200 people will benefit every year.

"I am pleased that Scotland and Northern Ireland are following our lead in introducing free prescriptions and that England has extended their exemption scheme to enable cancer patients to receive free prescriptions. As a result, Wales will be adding cancer to the list of exemptions for free prescriptions. This is part of the UK's reciprocal arrangements that enables UK patients free prescriptions in any part of the UK because of their age or medical condition." It is anticipated that the necessary changes to the legislation will be in place by early autumn.

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