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Prescription charge plan “imminent”


Plans for scrapping prescription charges in Scotland will be set out to parliament before the end of the year, a government official has revealed.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon briefed fellow-ministers on progress at a weekly cabinet meeting, a Scottish government spokesman said.

And he added that the administration will set out in detail how it plans to take forward its commitment to abolish the fees.

He added: “She said prescription charges were a tax on the sick and scrapping them would move the NHS one step closer back to its founding principles.

“We will be looking to make a statement on prescription charges in the near future, hopefully before Christmas.”

Last week, finance secretary John Swinney said that £97m will be set aside for phasing out the charges.

The SNP’s election manifesto pledged to immediately scrap charges for people with chronic conditions or those who are in full time education, with charges for the rest of the population to be scrapped by 2012.

Ms Sturgeon told the SNP conference last month that prescription charges, currently £6.85, would be cut by a “significant” amount next April as a first step towards abolition, and challenged Labour to back the move.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

NHS Scotland

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