Maybe it\’s a good idea and maybe not.
The British Medical Association is calling for all prescriptions in England to be free and the National Pharmacy Association, and a host of patient charities are also in support.
But one question. What is it that has changed since last time we did it?
Although the NHS, which was founded in 1948, was meant to provide a completely free health service for everyone, a growing drugs bill prompted the introduction of prescription charges in 1952.
The plans were first put forward by the Attlee government in 1951, causing the resignation of a string of ministers, including the "father" of the NHS Aneurin Bevan and the future Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Following Labour\’s election defeat, in October 1952, the Conservative government set the charge at one shilling per prescription form.
By 1956, the NHS was dispensing 228 million items per year at a cost of £58 million, and the Government raised the charge to one shilling per item to compensate. Three years later, this went up again, to two shillings per item.
In 1965, under Harold Wilson, Labour abolished prescription charges. This caused the NHS drugs bill to soar, as many low-cost items that patients had previously bought for themselves were increasingly prescribed.