Whatever you do, don’t get ill. It’ll cost ya.
I see from new news today that the price of a prescription in England will increase from it’s current figure of £7.85 to £8.05 in April 2014, and then to £8.25 next year.
We should be thankful though, as last year a think-tank suggested the price go up to £10.
So you get ill, need some antibiotics, an inhaler as you might be asthmatic, and some antidepressants as without them you might become depressed and suicidal and… well. That’s £25.95.
For those on Job Seekers Allowance that represents over a third of their weekly income.
Three items on a prescription isn’t that unlikely. I had an ear infection recently and was prescribed antibiotics and an anti-emetic. The latter was prescribed to stop me from being sick when paying these charges but I digress…
It’s becoming harder to balance the books for the NHS. Arguably this is down to the failings of every government since it’s inception, as well as global economic factors in recent years but probably because keeping a population fit and healthy and sane costs a lot of money. Over 90% of prescriptions in England are dispensed free of charge and children, those over 60, cancer patients, pregnant mums and those with low incomes and on certain types of benefit are exempt from charges. But what does this rise mean for people who do have to pay?
There are still a hell of a lot of people in this country for whom this prescription charge is a lot of money. Price increases in dental charges have also been announced so I ask the question, will taking medication and going to the dentist become a luxury some simply can’t afford?
This lovely picture shows just what the government are doing, in real terms. This graphic was accompanied by Ian Duncan Smith saying on the news “No, no the point is that child poverty has fallen.”
Tie this up with the governments plans to change legal aid and it appears that two institutions which were so widely admired throughout the world, the NHS and the legal system, are being recklessly torn apart without any adequate replacement measures put in place. The government is dismantling safety nets for the voiceless and the vulnerable under the auspices of austerity, and on-side newspapers tell stories of scroungers and those who abuse the system in order to defend these cuts. The reality is that some people will no longer be able to, and have not been able to, receive support they actually need. Thousands of families and individuals are already suffering at the hands of the cuts made to legal aid last year, especially in family law, yet cuts continue apace and holes in spending in the NHS are filled by increases to prescription charges.
I firmly believe people will suffer because some will not be able to afford prescriptions they need, because of a callous government which wants to pacify the middle into voting for them again and prefers to vilify the poorer sections of society, blaming them for their own poverty.
When the idea is pointed out to them, the government frantically refutes the notion that the poor are getting poorer. This increase in prescription charges shows that they can no longer refute this. It will cost those on low incomes more for medicines so this is now a fact. The poor ARE getting poorer.
What’s the answer? Is there one? What’s the cure for this? I’m sure a centre-right paper might blame it on immigrants and the rising cost of meeting the demands on our country’s services by those coming to find a new life in the UK. I’m sure UKIP would pounce on this like a poor person on chips.
I read recently how the government couldn’t commit to accepting a number of refugees from Syria because they would have to declare this in their immigration figures and this could run the risk of making them unpopular come election time. Giving aid is easier, apparently, and won’t wreck their chances of reelection. I know this confuses some people, this confuses me for example, as we’re spending money overseas while more and more people use food banks in the UK. I read a story recently about how the UK government gave £15 million to a project in Columbia to stop flatulence in cows. Columbia is one of the thirty richest countries in the world.
£15 million to stop cows farting? That’s an awful lot of corks.
Perhaps some of these gaps in the UK’s piggy bank, fiscal holes which mean increased medical charges and cuts to legal aid, could be best filled by tackling companies who trade in the UK but don’t pay UK tax.
It was reported last year that Starbucks had sales of £400m in the UK in 2012, but paid no corporation tax. Amazon had sales in the UK of £3.35bn in 2011, yet only reported a “tax expense” of £1.8m and Google’s UK unit paid just £6m to the Treasury in 2011 on UK turnover of £395m.
Of course, the British government isn’t chasing this up as it’s doing its usual thing just now, as DavCam recently demonstrated on Twitter. It’s standing up against bullies, as we’ve always done in history, and giving a firm disapproving look towards Russia in the Ukraine. It’s standing up to the bully Putin while also bullying the Scottish people into a No vote by threatening to take away the Pound.
No, it’s OUR ball and you can’t play with it so nurr.
The one thing the UK government doesn’t like is a bully. Unless it’s the bully, and then it’s not actually bullying at all because we’re all in it together. Apparently.
Thanks for reading my rant. And remember, look after your health. Pretty soon the charges for medicine will be ‘one arm and one leg’, and then none of us will have a leg to stand on.