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Why is Lupus not exempt from NHS Prescription Charges

1390 Views 22 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  bugsy
Im just trawling the internet to try to find out where I can find a list of which illnesses are included or excluded in paying charges for prescription charges.

Im also thinking about paying a one-off fee which should cover me for charges and anything above what I have paid up front for will not be charged.

Very quickly I was staggered to find the following:

emption policy

[QUOTE]At present, some patients with chronic illness are exempt from patient charges if their condition is on a Department of Health list, originally drawn up in 1968, or if their income is below a certain level.

Patients with chronic illness can also pay £89 up front to cover the costs of their prescriptions over a year. [/QUOTE]

The £89.00 up front cover is Im sure out of date as the article was from 2002.
Im not so sure about the 1968 original list!.

I have a friend who has a thyroid problem and is exempt, even though it is an auto immune disease and a comfortable income.
I have a friend who has m.s who is not exempt, even though hers is also an autoimmune disease.

The lady with M.S is able to get a comfortable income from the government re benefits and never therefore has a lot of financial security and has recovered some of her ability.
Somebody else I know who seems worse off than her in some ways gets nothing and is financially unsecure.

Why do some auto immune diseases qualify and some do not re prescription charges.

I wonder where one goes to ask these questions to enable some change in the system.

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Hello Nicky

A list of the illnesses exempt from prescription charges can be found on the link below, as well as all the other exempted groups. A 5 -year exemption for cancer patients is coming in from April 1 this year.

The reasons for lupus not being included are that although lupus is chronic, its course is not predictable and because each person is differently affected. Also, exempt groups cover those permanent conditions from which people are likely to die if they don't get medications. By the way, some people with lupus suffer an exempt condition as a result of treatment for lupus: Diabetes for example or Hypoadrenalism when the adrenal glands can't pick up after Prednisone treatment. Some people with lupus will qualify on the basis of their income or the benefits they might be receiving.

Where I live, people with cancer automatically get a disabled drivers permit. Some people with lupus or MS are so disabled they qualify too

Attempts were made a few years back to get lupus included on the list of diseases covered by the Disabilities Discrimination Act when it was being revised. MS and at least one other condition was added to the list but the bid to get lupus included failed

If I was under 60 I would certainly get an annual prepayment certificate. The eight meds I'm taking regularly would cost £360 pa.

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These are the diseases that qualify for exemptions,from the link below.

People who have certain medical conditions

Although there are many conditions requiring regular medication, only the following qualify for an exemption certificate:

  • A permanent fistula requiring dressing.
  • Forms of hypoadrenalism such as Addison's Disease.
  • Diabetes insipidus and other forms of hypopituitarism.
  • Diabetes mellitus except where treatment is by diet alone.
  • Hypoparathyroidism.
  • Myasthenia gravis.
  • Myxoedema (underactive thyroid) or other conditions where supplemental thyroid hormone is necessary.
  • Epilepsy requiring regular anti-epilepsy medication.
  • If, because of a permanent disability, you cannot leave your home without help.
I once asked about getting eyes tested free and was told it wasn't, because the need for eye tests rose from a medication rather than the disease itself. And anyway it had been decided that the risk was so small official policy was not worth recommending eye tests. (Saves NHS money too ?)

The risk might be very very small but I would save to pay to have eyes tested once year.

Nicky, just to mention in passing, that I wrote to my MP about two issues that concerned me, one of which is political, another angle of the free prescription business, the disparity in prescription costs between the UK countries.

The other issue certainly could be relevant to people wanting to try new lupus therapies. I had seen what has happened to some of our members in other countries when they have to pay for a new medicine but then can't get treated in a public hospital and private hospitals don't have the facilities to adminster or supervise the treatment even if the patient can afford it.
It's always worth writing about what you feel strongly about.


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