Woodbridge woman forced to choose between medication and delaying car tax
- Credit: Family handout/PA Wire
A Suffolk woman with Parkinson's disease has described having to choose between paying for car tax or stumping up for costly medication.
Michelle Griffin shared her dilemma as campaigners dubbed prescription charge rises a "tax on health" and called on the government to review an exemption list which excludes some people with chronic conditions.
The 50-year-old, who lives near Woodbridge, was diagnosed with Parkinson's four years ago and takes five different forms of medication each day.
But Mrs Griffin said she has "gone without other things" in order to pay for her prescription prepayment certificate, which allows people to get as many prescriptions as needed for a set price.
"I purchase a prepayment certificate for my prescriptions, which saves me over £400 per year," she said.
"However, even to pay for this, I have gone without other things, like delaying paying my car tax so I could get my medication. It's more important to me that I can function on a day-to-day basis.
"My medication allows me to do normal daily things, such as continue working and spend quality time with my family. Surely that's a basic human right which shouldn't come at a cost."
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From April 1, the cost of a prescription has risen from £9.15 to £9.35 in line with inflation.
Meanwhile, the cost of an annual prescription prepayment certificate has increased by £2.20 from £105.90.
The Prescription Charges Coalition said it was very worried about people with long term conditions putting off getting their medication.
Analysis conducted for the PA news agency suggested that, based on the current trajectory of price rises, a single prescription item will cost £10.15 in 2025.
Chairman Laura Cockram, also head of policy and campaigns at Parkinson's UK, said it meant people with long term conditions sometimes had to choose between picking up vital medication or actually eating.
On the call for the Government to review the exemption list, Ms Cockram added: "HIV wasn't even around when the exemption list was created. People with cystic fibrosis were not expected to live to be adults when it was created.
"It is over 50 years old, and also massively unfair for people who live in England."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said nearly 90% of NHS prescription items were free, with exemptions in place for children, pregnant women, those over 60, on a low-income or with medical conditions like cancer, epilepsy and diabetes.
"Additional support through the NHS Low Income Scheme is available for those not covered by exemptions," they added.