Scottish Conservatives accused of ‘U-turn’ over universal free prescriptions : Express

THE Scottish Conservatives have been accused of an “embarrassing U-turn” after dropping their opposition to universal free prescriptions.

The Tories been steadfastly against the policy, which sees the NHS dispense 100 million items at a cost of £1.3billion a year, ever since it was introduced by the SNP in 2011.

Scottish leader Ruth Davidson even once said that patients are “practically paying with their lives” because the rest of the health service is starved of funds as a result.

However, she will now announce her support for free prescriptions in Scotland when the General Election manifesto is launched later this month.

With medication now playing an increasing role as an alternative to hospital-based care, the party believes the policy will save the NHS money in the long-term.

The Tories are also calling for a review to both cut wastage and look again at the inclusion of over-the-counter products such as paracetemol, aspirin, sun cream, toothpaste and shampoo.

Shadow health secretary Donald Cameron said: “There is no doubt at all that people in Scotland value the idea of free prescriptions. We have listened to them, and changed our policy.

“This is really about the future of the NHS, though. Medical technology is making leaps and bounds. Drugs are becoming ever-more sophisticated. Pharmacy services have the potential to help reduce the pressure on GPs and hospitals.

“But this has to be assessed thoroughly. And it means thinking about when prescriptions are the right answer, and when they’re not. It can’t be right that the NHS spends £10million a year on over-the-counter drugs like paracetemol.



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