Central Scotland MSP hits out at free prescription costs to NHS Lanarkshire

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 14:32 BST on Thursday 12th July 2012.

A Central Scotland MSP has hit out at the costs of free prescriptions, referring to the latest statistical information available from the Information Services Division of the National Health Service.

According to the latest figures, which were published on 26th June, an extra 3.5 million prescription items were handed out to patients in Scotland in the last year.

The Information Statistics Division’s statistics show that the prescription hand out increase has increased the NHS’s bill to £1.18 billion – an increase of £36.5 million. Whilst, in NHS Lanarkshire the net cost of prescriptions has risen to £229 per person on a GP list, up from £217 in 2010/11.

The price of a single prescription was reduced by the SNP from £3.00 to zero in April 2011, and so the figures are the first to show the true impact of giving out free prescriptions.

Commenting on the figures, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party MSP for Central Scotland Margaret Mitchell said: “The increase in providing free prescriptions is simply unsustainable when the health budget is under so much stress.

“We have heard from numerous health boards at the Scottish Parliament that the cost is now beginning to have an impact on frontline services.

“Hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland are more than willing to pay something towards prescriptions, yet at a time of austerity we have the Scottish Government diverting money on free prescriptions to people like the First Minister.

The MSP added: “Clearly the cost of this policy is spiralling out of control.”