Liberal Democrats pledge free prescriptions for mental health conditions

Jo Swinson announcing the 2019 Liberal Democrat general election manifesto

The Liberal Democrats would remove prescription charges for patients with chronic mental health conditions, according to the party’s 2019 general election manifesto.

The manifesto says the change would be part of a wider commitment to “review the entire schedule of exemptions for prescription charges, which has not been fully updated since 1968 and contains many anomalies”. The party has pledged to treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health, adding that “there is still a very long way to go to achieve real equality for mental health”.

The manifesto also says the party would “support and encourage” more clinical trials into medical cannabis, to “establish a clear evidence base”. In the meantime, it says it would allow people, who feel that medical cannabis helps to manage their pain, to use it “without fear of criminal prosecution”.

Access to cannabis would be reformed through the introduction of a regulated cannabis market in the UK, which would feature a “robust approach to licensing”.

People found to be possessing illegal drugs for personal use would be diverted into treatment, and would face civil penalties rather than imprisonment.

Other policies in the manifesto include making PrEP, the HIV prevention drug, available on the NHS to all who need it; the commissioning of a strategic analysis of racial discrimination in the NHS, and addressing “continuing inequalities in health services access faced by same-sex couples” as part of a broader plan to improve LGBT+ healthcare, if the Liberal Democrats formed the next government.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Liberal Democrats pledge free prescriptions for mental health conditions;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20207386

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