Health is an issue that is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. In Scotland, prescriptions are very welcomely available for patients from the NHS free of charge.
I believe that drugs are playing an increasingly more important role in out-of-hospital care, and free prescriptions can help alleviate pressure on hard-pressed Scottish GPs and hospitals.
However, as NHS Scotland currently spends around £1.5 billion per year on drugs, it is important that we manage the use of ‘low value’ prescriptions at a time when NHS Scotland is facing a severe staffing crisis under the current Scottish Government. For example, since charging for prescriptions was scrapped in 2011, Scotland’s 14 health boards have spent more than £57 million on providing free paracetamol, and an estimated £1.6 million a year is spent on sun cream.
Last updated January 2020