PRESCRIPTION charges should be scrapped for people living with long-term medical conditions, according to a Trafford MP who vows to take the battle to Westminster.

Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, has pledged to help scrap prescription charges for people in England with a long-term condition, claiming new economic analysis proves that such a move would save the NHS millions of pounds every year and improve health outcomes.

The report was published by the action group, Prescription Charges Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 organisations campaigning to abolish unfair prescription charges for people with long term conditions.

Attending the launch of the report at Westminster on Wednesday, Kate expressed her concern that not everyone with a serious long-term condition in England was entitled to free prescriptions, despite the projected government savings.

She said: “This is an extremely important report, highlighting a significant injustice to so many people with long-term conditions in England.

“The NHS has a list of conditions that exempt people from paying prescriptions, but this hasn’t been updated since the creation of the list in 1968.

“Over the past five decades, medical progress has been astounding, but this list is stuck in the past, omitting so many conditions that were undiscovered or had very short life expectancy at the time. I am committed to ensuring people in Trafford with long-term conditions are treated fairly.”

The new report shows that extending prescription charge exemptions to people with long-term conditions would save the NHS £93 per person with Parkinson’s per year and £180 per person with Inflammatory Bowel Disease per year.

Exemptions would result in 789 fewer A&E visits for people with Parkinson’s and 3,796 fewer GP visits for people with Crohn’s Disease.

The independent research by the York Health Economics Consortium, commissioned by Parkinson’s UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK, showed savings of more than £20 million per year if the NHS scrapped prescriptions for people with Parkinson’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease alone.

All prescriptions are already free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Jackie Glatter, Health Service Development Manager at Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition said: “The Government has freely admitted that the current prescription exemption criteria are outdated and arbitrary and this analysis clearly shows they are also a false economy.

“This broken system needs urgent reform to ensure people with long-term conditions get the vital medicines they need and to deliver value for money for the tax payer.”

Campainers suggest that savings would be made from a reduction in health complications due to people not taking their medication as prescribed. Research has revealed that around a third of people with long term conditions who pay for prescriptions do not pick up or take their medication properly due to the cost.

They claim that at least £20 million would be saved by reductions in hospital admissions, inpatient days, A&E visits and GP appointments.

Matina Loizou, Senior Policy Adviser at Parkinson’s UK and Co-Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said: “No diagnosis should come with a bill – not from our NHS – and 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.”