Campaigners take prescription charges campaign to Downing Street

On Tuesday (5 June), campaigners from Parkinson's UK handed in a petition, calling on the government to scrap prescription charges for people with long-term conditions, to Downing Street.

The petition was signed by 22,281 supporters of various charities, who are all members of the Prescription Charges Coalition. It was delivered to Downing Street by campaigners from Parkinson's UK, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Asthma UK, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, and Crohn's and Colitis UK.

The problem

For working-age people with Parkinson's, prescription charges are yet another hurdle they must contend with. People tell us they face a tough choice between paying for food and heating, or paying for essential medicine.

Last summer, a third of respondents to a Prescription Charges Coalition survey reported that they have skipped or reduced doses due to cost.

Emma Lawton, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's at 29 and was part of the delegation presenting the petition, commented:  

"My Parkinson's medication lets me stay active, without it I wouldn't be able to work or socialise. Why should I have to pay for medication that I need to stay well?"

False economy

We recently commissioned research that shows why prescription charges for people with Parkinson's are a false economy. Scrapping them would save the NHS £800,000 every year.

Matina Loizou, Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser, said:

"No diagnosis should come with a bill – not from our NHS. It is appalling that so many people have to pay for the privilege of having a long-term condition they certainly didn't ask for."

Support our campaign

Our campaign doesn't end with the petition hand-in. This Sunday, 10 June, will be the 50th anniversary of the medical exemption list which determines who pays for prescriptions. It is grossly out of date.

Together we can keep up the pressure on decision makers. Help us by arranging to meet with your local MP to discuss this important issue. Download our lobby pack (pdf, 954KB) - a complete toolkit filled with practical information and tips to help you get your point across.

You can also keep up to date with all our latest campaigns by joining our Campaigns Network.