IN A leader (17 May), The Scotsman says that universally free prescription charges are not a wise use of hard-pressed health funds. But why stop at prescription charges? They are a small part of health spending compared to hospital treatments. Why do we have universally free radiotherapy for prostate cancer? Should that be free for people who can afford to pay for it themselves? Or GP visits, the next most expensive category after hospital treatments?
For 35 years, I lived in Switzerland where nothing was “free”. I had to pay for everything, from having a baby – very expensive – to hospital operations. However, it was all reimbursed by my insurance company, notably including prescription charges. But there were limits. If you wanted proton therapy in the US or carbon ion treatment in Japan, you had to pay the difference yourself.
Nothing in health is free, you pay for it in insurance policies or in taxes. I fear the move to charge people “who can afford to pay” for prescriptions is just a first move down a slippery slope.
West Acres Drive