Prescription charges on the Isle of Man could rise from £3.85 to £5.00.
Under new proposals from the Manx Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the increase in price would be accompanied by the removal of free prescriptions for pregnant women and pensioners aged under 75 years. Pre-payment prescription charges would rise from £19 to £20 for a four-month certificate, and from £54 to £60 for a 12-month certificate.
Kate Beecroft, minister for health and social care on the island, said that the DHSC needed to “deliver value for money by paying attention to how we spend our funds, how we can reduce waste and how we can generate income, so that we can put as much money as possible into frontline services”.
The proposed changes to prescription charges are part of the draft National Health and Care Service General Scheme 2017, which will set out the Manx government’s commitment to provide health care services, and the charges it would make for those services.
Commenting on the proposed changes, Edwin Kinrade, chair of the Isle of Man’s Pharmacy Contractors Association, said: “We are not surprised by the proposal that the prescription charge is set to rise, despite the removal of prescription charges in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. We are, however, shocked by the fact that the age-related exemption is set to increase to 75 and that pregnant women will no longer be exempt. It is likely that the long-term detrimental consequences on health of the decision will significantly outweigh any short term financial gains.
“The Isle of Man DHSC has an annual overspend and is looking at measures to reduce this. It was found that the largest percentage of exempt-from-charge prescriptions related to persons over the state pension age, and the current proposal aims to increase income from this group.
“The Island has around 250 births per year, so charging pregnant women for prescriptions is likely to have very little significance.”
The Manx government has opened a public consultation on the draft National Health and Care Service General Scheme 2017. The consultation will remain open until 12 September 2017.