A leading charity has raised concerns about Health minister Edwin Poots’ latest suggestion that prescription charges could be reintroduced in Northern Ireland.
Mr Poots said that introducing a £3 charge for prescriptions — something which would reverse Stormont’s decision to abolish all prescription charges — could fund a cancer drugs fund.
Some have argued that it is wrong to provide free prescriptions to those who can easily afford a small charge.
But Parkinson’s UK’s director Nicola Moore said that to force those with long-term medical conditions to pay for prescriptions would be “grossly unfair”.
She urged Mr Poots to ensure that those suffering from Parkinson’s were exempt from any new charge: “For people living with Parkinson’s, their drugs are their lifeline. This issue is not just about helping people with Parkinson’s manage their condition but actually enabling quality of life to continue with every-day tasks.
“Any charge for prescriptions amounts to a tax on ill-health for everyone living with Parkinson’s and other long-term conditions.”