SOME readers may not be aware that the government is set to increase prescription charges from April 1.

In 2018, prescriptions charges went up from £8.60 to £8.80, and from April this year, they will increase by a further 20p.

Parkinson's UK has warned that a third of people already struggle to pick up essential medication due to cost, and that if the price rises further, even more people will be at risk.

We have all heard Theresa May and her government colleagues repeat the mantra that we have seen “the end of austerity”.

The reality, however, is different for millions of people of working age with long-term conditions and disabilities who are reliant on medication to maintain their health.

Lloyd Tingley, of Parkinson's UK and chairman of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said recently that: “Since 2010, the prescription charge has risen by 26 per cent compared to a rise in average earnings of 16 per cent over the same period”.

He made a valid point that: “Working age people with long-term conditions simply can’t sustain this."

The Prescription Charges Coalition represents more than 20 charities and disability groups across the UK including, Arthritis Care, The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, The MS Society and The Terrence Higgins Trust.

Parkinson’s UK argues that scrapping charges the charges would save the NHS £800,000 every year by reducing unnecessary GP visits and hospital admissions caused by people not collecting and taking all the medication they have been prescribed.

We desperately need a government that is committed to supporting vulnerable people with long term health conditions.

Joan Pritchard-Jones