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To think the NHS medical exemption is not very fair?

(433 Posts)
user87382294757 Thu 11-Jul-19 09:16:23

DH has crohns disease. Needs regular prescriptions and bloods, has an IBD nurse etc.

Advised some conditions can exempt you from prescription charges and checked the list. It says-

You can get all your NHS prescriptions free if you have a valid medical exemption certificate because you have:
• a permanent fistula (for example, caecostomy, colostomy, laryngos-tomy or ileostomy) which needs
continuous surgical dressing or an appliance;
• a form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison’s Disease) for which specific substitution therapy is
• diabetes insipidus and other forms of hypopituitarism;
• diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone;
• hypoparathyroidism;
• myasthenia gravis;
• myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism which needs thyroid hormone replacement);
• epilepsy which needs continuous anticonvulsive therapy;
• a continuing physical disability which means you cannot go out without the help of another person; or
• cancer and are undergoing treatment for:
– cancer;
– the effects of cancer; or,
– the effects of cancer treatment.

Why these conditions and not others? It seems unfair that someone with diabetes type 2 (which is often self induced through diet and lack of exercise) can get these for free and others with other chronic illnesses cannot?

I'm cross that it seems a selective few illness have been given more priority than others for this. AIBU?

NoBaggyPants Thu 11-Jul-19 09:19:06

Does he have a prepayment certificate?

user87382294757 Thu 11-Jul-19 09:23:39

Yes, he does at present (which costs a lot) however my post isn't about pre-payment certificates. It is about medical exemptions certificates.

scaevola Thu 11-Jul-19 09:25:04

The original exemptions have been in place right from the outset of charges, and relates to what was treatable and expensive back then. No government is going to take away those exemptions (too heartless)

Conditions can be added to it, but it takes a fuckload of campaigning to get it done. The exemptions for those with cancer were introduced as recently as 2009.

OTOH, might it be better to campaign for the abolition of prescription charges completely? Other home nations have done this without wrecking their budgets, so perhaps that might be more achievable.

Because there always will be people who fall just outside a list of specified conditions, whatever that list is.

In the mean time, prepayment scheme would be the sensible way to budget for these charges

JaceLancs Thu 11-Jul-19 09:25:38

I believe the conditions were agreed years ago and have never been updated
NHS probably couldn’t stand the cost if other things were added
I have to self catheterise 3-4 times daily and can’t get catheters, bags or local anaesthetic gel free - never mind the many other drugs I’m on
Just buy an annual prescription - nearly everyone I know does

FudgeMallowDelight Thu 11-Jul-19 09:26:40

Yes. I remember someone with asthma on tv saying it was unfair and i agreed. You can die from it

QueenofmyPrinces Thu 11-Jul-19 09:28:50

As someone who is medically exempt due to having one of the conditions in the list, I stil agree with you.

EggysMom Thu 11-Jul-19 09:29:37

I would agree that it's unfair, and I'm one of the people benefitting from it - all my prescriptions are free because of hypothyroidism. Antibiotics for a toenail infection? Free. Daft, isn't it.

DoneLikeAKipper Thu 11-Jul-19 09:31:15

It seems unfair that certain long-term medical conditions are exempt, but it’s unfair for you to judge what is ‘unworthy’ to be on the list in comparison to your husband’s illness. It’s not about giving more priority, the illnesses mentioned are shown to need (usually) daily and lifelong medications. If that is your husband’s case, perhaps he should fight for a medical exemption card with others in his position?

user87382294757 Thu 11-Jul-19 09:31:18

I know someone with type 2 who says they won't bother trying to change diet as they get free prescriptions anyway. No wonder it costs the NHS so much.

user87382294757 Thu 11-Jul-19 09:32:18

Right so it gives you free prescriptions for everything- not just the one disease.

NoBaggyPants Thu 11-Jul-19 09:32:46

The PPC doesn't cost a lot, it's less than £9 a month.

Surely the answer is to narrow the list of exemptions and encourage the use of the PPC? The NHS can't afford to lose any more money when their budgets have already been cut to the core.

feathermucker Thu 11-Jul-19 09:33:31

I know you're not talking about prepayment certificates. However, it costs £104.00 for 12 months for unlimited prescriptions which works out about £8.70 per month.

I do agree that it is unfair and that change is needed.

PolPotNoodle Thu 11-Jul-19 09:33:37

Why these conditions and not others? It seems unfair that someone with diabetes type 2 (which is often self induced through diet and lack of exercise) can get these for free and others with other chronic illnesses cannot

Because diabetes will kill you without treatment. Hth!

MrsMiggins37 Thu 11-Jul-19 09:34:03


seems pretty arbitrary

Mitebiteatnite Thu 11-Jul-19 09:34:37

I have brittle asthma, which could hospitalise me at any point without warning. It is ridiculous that I, and many others with long term conditions, have to pay. These aren't self inflicted illnesses, we didn't get them through unhealthy lifestyles or poor choices. And yet we are punished for it.

MrsMiggins37 Thu 11-Jul-19 09:35:33

Because diabetes will kill you without treatment. Hth!

Which is fair enough but why do they get all meds free, even ones not for diabetes, and the OP’s partner has to pay for everything?

Floralnomad Thu 11-Jul-19 09:35:37

I’m medically exempt for hypothyroidism and Addisons but I agree other things need adding in particular Asthma ( which I also have ) because it can and does kill . I suppose they have to draw the line somewhere and lots of people take long term medication and not everything can be free .

Mitebiteatnite Thu 11-Jul-19 09:36:01

Also, if you can't afford to pay upfront for a PPC, it costs £10.20 a month. Another classic example of those with the least being made to pay more.

AquarianSquirrel Thu 11-Jul-19 09:37:05

It says in your original post about diabetes mellitus "except where treatment is by diet alone". Those with insulin dependent dm must get it free and type 1 requires insulin and is not diet-dependent, but occurs 'naturally' for want of a better word.

EleanorOalike Thu 11-Jul-19 09:37:18

My father and his entire side of the family over 40 have Diabetes type 2 through genetics meaning people of his ethnicity are more likely to get it. I wish people would stop perpetuating the myth that if people have Diabetes 2 it’s their own fault and that they should have to pay for their insulin and metformin. I have several chronic illnesses (including one very similar to your OH) and I have to fork out a lot of money each month but don’t begrudge the support diabetics of either type get. My father has nearly died twice due to his Diabetes causing massive heart attacks and my Uncle has had his leg off. My grandparents and an Auntie went blind. None of them were obese or even overweight btw. They couldn’t have afforded the medication needed if it weren’t for the exemption. It’s genetic and I’m already showing signs of it despite having an excellent diet and being careful about my weight and exercise routine. I hate reading of people’s attitudes towards diabetics being that it’s self inflicted, it’s ignorant and harmful.

Isitbedtimeyet01 Thu 11-Jul-19 09:37:32

The certificate you have seen is out of date. This is the current on. Diabetes and thyroid issues are included

Tolleshunt Thu 11-Jul-19 09:38:13

It is unfair, but I guess it would be unaffordable to widen it under the present NHS budget. I would personally prefer to pay more tax and get a better NHS, but most voters don’t agree.

The cynic in me believes this may contribute to the enormous difficulty those with under - - active thyroid face in obtaining effective treatment in this country.

AquarianSquirrel Thu 11-Jul-19 09:39:04

That being said, I understand your annoyance at prescription charges only being free for certain illnesses. Suppose they need a cutoff but hard to say where that should be!

JoanMavisIcecreamGirl Thu 11-Jul-19 09:39:05

Because diabetes will kill you without treatment. Hth!

So will asthma but you have to pay to keep yourself if you have that! Seems fair!

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