Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

SNP Government break promise of free prescriptions to cancer patients in Scotland

27 April 2009

Marlyn Glen has had plea to the Scottish Government to abolish prescription charges for cancer patients in Scotland to bring them into line with patients in England rejected by SNP Public Health Minister Shona Robison.

Cancer patients in England began receiving prescriptions for their treatment free of charge from the beginning of April while cancer patients in Scotland must wait another two years.

Ms. Glen took up the matter with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon saying,

” In the 2007 election, the SNP promised that, if elected, they would abolish prescription charges for cancer patients in Scotland ‘immediately’.

“That promise has never been kept.

“Neither was a similar promise kept to those with chronic health conditions who were told by the SNP that they too would have their prescription charges abolished ‘immediately’ two years ago.”

” While cancer patients now have the benefit of free prescriptions in England, cancer patients in Scotland do not..

“This is because the SNP have broken a promise to them that they would abolish the cost of their prescriptions ‘immediately’ after the 2007 election.

“A similar commitment to abolish prescription charges ‘immediately’ for those with chronic medical conditions was quickly abandoned after the 2007 election.

” The SNP’s excuse was that ‘the work to extend the categories of medical conditions that qualify for exemption might have taken until 2009.’

Ms. Glen said that she welcomed the recent reduction in the cost of prepayment certificates and supported the continuing phasing out of prescription charges generally.

She added,

“However, telling cancer patients and those with chronic health conditions that their prescription charges would be abolished ‘immediately’ two years ago and then not doing so, is an entirely different matter from phasing out prescription charges by 2011.”

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