FAQs seek to address misconceptions over proposed changes to prescription, sight test and dental treatment contributions

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) on proposed changes in contributions towards the cost of prescriptions, sight tests and dental treatment have been published by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Minister for Health and Social Care, Kate Beecroft MHK, said:

'Since launching our public consultation a fortnight ago, it is clear that a number of misconceptions have begun circulating – for example, that parents will have to pay for their child’s prescription. 

'The Department has undertaken a comprehensive review of contributions and exemptions, developing proposals that aim to ensure fairness and consistency across the board.  These proposals affect a number of areas and so I appreciate there is a level of detail for people to take in. 

'I hope the FAQs will help the public to more clearly understand the Department’s proposals.'

The Department has received a number of queries as part of its consultation process and the FAQs seek to address these, not least making clear that those who would be required to contribute £5 towards the cost of their prescription would be able to get all their medication for a flat rate of £60 a year – less than 17 pence a day – with a 12 month pre-payment certificate.

Over £17 million was spent on prescription medication last year, with less than £700,000 received in contributions towards that cost.

The FAQs also make clear that:

  • Anyone on benefits would continue to be exempt from making a contribution, as would children under 16 year of age or and those in full time education under 19 years of age
  • Contraception would remain free
  • The cost of contributions people make to prescriptions hasn’t increased in seven years
  • People who are not exempt but feel that paying prescription charges would be prohibitive to them would be able to ask for a review, with applications considered on a case by case basis
  • Means testing proposals are in development through the Cabinet Office but this is a complex piece of work which will take significant time to deliver

The Minister added:

'These proposals remain just that – proposals.  The Department is consulting and I am encouraged that there is a healthy public debate and a range of differing views coming forward.  The Department will listen to feedback, but we must be realistic that if we are to safeguard services, develop new ones and tackle our financial challenge, we must be more sustainable through being more efficient, and able to maximise income in a way that is fair.'

The public consultation runs until 12 September and further information is available online at consult.gov.im.  

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