The business administrator from Norfolk was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in April 2019. Since her diagnosis, she has had to reduce her working hours and is just about managing to find the money to pay for her NHS prescriptions. Government proposals to axe free prescriptions for over 60s in England, increasing the age to state pension age, will hit her, and millions of others, hard.
Denise Price has worked hard all her life but has recently had to cut her hours to a third of what she was working, after suffering extreme fatigue brought on by Parkinson’s Disease.
It’s had a damaging effect on her finances at the same time as she’s noticed the cost of everyday bills rising.
Her household is really feeling the pinch at an already difficult time when Denise should be focusing on her health.
Until now, she has been managing to pay for her prescription charges by using a pre-payment certificate to make it cheaper, but has also had to dip into her savings which won’t last for much longer.
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Denise said: “I always thought I would work until I was 67, because I would be able to.
“However, as my Parkinson’s advances I worry about whether I physically will be able to.
“My employer is really understanding, allowing flexibility to start later in the mornings until my medication has kicked in.
“I have already had to reduce my hours by 60 percent and I’m already noticing the impact of this reduced earning capacity on our household.
“I have to pay for my prescriptions and this is eating into the diminishing amount I can contribute towards the household bills.”
Ms Cockram added: “However, this proposal risks more people choosing between which medicine they can afford, or which bill they can pay.
“Far from saving the NHS money, this proposal is likely to cost more and do lasting damage to the nation’s health.”
The Government announced plans to increase the qualifying age for free prescriptions in England from 60 to 66 last year.
The change will bring them in line with the state pension age. The consultation into the proposal has now closed.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Around 89 percent of community prescription items in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60, or have certain medical conditions.
“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link between this and the state pension age. We are considering the responses carefully and will respond in due course.”