Should NHS Prescriptions be free for Students?

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
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I was having a discussion with some friends the other day about NHS prescriptions, and I seemed to be the only one who thought they shouldn't be free for students. By "students" I mean anyone in university full time and under 19.

They kept complaining how they have to pay for any medicines, glasses, eye tests, dentist, etc.


So here's my point of view:

The NHS already provides a lot of things for free. When you go to the hospital for anything, ranging from minor procedures to more serious surgeries and months long stays, you never come out with a huge bill that you will most likely never be able to pay off. Children, elderly, pregnant women (and 12 months after birth), people with serious conditions like cancers and diabetes, also have medical care for free on the NHS. Rightfully so because people shouldn't be put in debt due to a health condition. As someone who moved to the UK from a country where healthcare isn’t free, where parents of children with serious illnesses struggle to pay for their treatment and where the elderly have to use their pensions to pay for medicine, to me the NHS does more than enough.
But healthy people, who occasionally need minor medicine, shouldn't be entitled to have it for free. I don’t mind paying the £8.80 per month or so to get my repeat prescription knowing that it goes towards improving the NHS and paying the people that provide the service (I know there are people that have multiple prescriptions, I’ll get on that later). Most of the NHS money comes from taxpayers, so if everyone had free prescriptions, our parents and in the future us students, will be paying more in taxes to support that. I doubt anyone would want that.
Besides, there are schemes to help people with low income, including students, to help fund their medicines, or get it for free. There's the prescription prepayment certificate, for people that would be spending hundreds of pounds a year for medicines.
Students get maintenance loans. If your loan isn’t enough for you to afford all necessities, including medicine, then you’ve got two choices: ask your parents for financial help, and if they are unwilling to help or otherwise unavailable, there are bursaries and grants you could try to get if you really need it. And of course, you can always get a part time job.


Here are some arguments I’ve heard from others against my point of view:

“Ughhh I had to fill in a really long form to get free prescriptions for low income and it was reeeeealy anooooying” If you really need it then I’m pretty sure you’d rather fill out a long form than spend money you don’t have on necessary medicine

“Some students don’t have the £104 to pay for prepayment” Again, use your maintenance loan, parents, grants, or job. Or the low income scheme.

“I’ve seen people with Coeliac disease get free gluten-free bread on the NHS, how fair is that” Gluten free bread can be more expensive than normal bread, and some families may have more than one Coeliac person in it so it can get expensive.

“Eye tests and glasses are so expensive, not to mention dentists” You have an eye test once every two years, some people less often, and you don’t change your glasses often either. Choose an optician that sells glasses with a lower price rather than going for the high end. You can get help with dental costs if you really need it, and a lot of private dentists, which tend to be better than NHS ones, have student discounts which make some treatments cheaper than on the NHS.


So what does the TSR community think?

Should students get free prescriptions? Or maybe at least discounts? Should everyone get free prescriptions?
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girl_in_black
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Your friends are studying in the wrong country - prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
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Tiger Rag
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No. Meanwhile, people with things like asthma have to pay.

You don't need to pay the £104 at once. You can pay it over 10 months.
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Kindred
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Sure it's cool that student get free prescriptions and the idea of having something you're used to taken away isn't great. It's not really the most important thing in the world though. I think it would be much better to have certain things (like contraceptives, eye tests etc) free/ cheap and easily available to students/ young people and to have more medical conditions and chronic illnesses covered by free prescriptions.

I basically get free prescriptions on a technicality cos I'm lucky enough that one of my chronic conditions is hypothyroidism (one of few conditions covered). People with more debilitation conditions or in need of more medications than me still have to pay though and that sucks a whole lot. I would honestly have a very hard time paying for pre-payment even because my conditions mean I am currently unable to work, but are not serious enough to qualify me for any form of support. Having free prescriptions is an absolute life saver for me but one that a lot of people in similar situations don't have. To me that's a more important issue than students having to pay £9 for one off antibiotic prescriptions.
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CoolCavy
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Most students are eligible for HC1 so I don't really see the debate here. Low income = free prescriptions
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pereira325
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Sadly it doesn't seem like I'll be a net gainer from the NHS in this life... Actually, that's a good thing as medicines or whatever are taken for reasons lol. It is a shame when you know you probably won't be a recipient of whatever taxes/contribution you make (but alas it's a responsibility of any citizen).

I think for things people don't have a choice over, like asthma as someone in my family has, those should be free for prescription. It's not a choice...

Don't even start on glasses... they are a tax on the "visually impaired" to be PC and sadly I am visually impaired
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