Welsh patients who are charged for prescriptions at hospitals in England will now be able to apply for a refund, it has been revealed.
Prescription charges were abolished in Wales in 2007, but now Wales’s free prescriptions policy is to be amended so patients can recover the £7.20 they pay at hospital pharmacies over the border if they are not exempt because of their age or medical condition.
Health minister Edwina Hart labelled the fact that patients still had to pay if they collected a prescription in England as “unreasonable”.
The Assembly Government said that about 200 people are expected to benefit every year when changes are made to the legislation, due by the autumn.
Attempts to halt so-called health tourism by English patients coming across the border to receive free treatment have resulted in the introduction of special bilingual prescription forms showing that a person is from Wales.
People living near the border with a GP in England get a card that wipes out the charge when they take their prescription to a pharmacy in Wales.
Mrs Hart said she was pleased to see that Scotland and Northern Ireland were planning to scrap prescription charges, and that fees had been scrapped for cancer patients in England.
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