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Cancer patients see treatment charges scrapped

20 January 2009

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Cancer patients in England can now get medicines free of charge on the NHS by registering with their GP.

The decision to award free prescriptions to patients with long-term conditions was announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year.

Patients can start applying for drugs from 20 January, though charges will stop being levied from 1 April. Other conditions will be announced later.

Following the decision to scrap drug charging completely in Wales, and moves to follow suit in Scotland, campaigners have been called for everyone in England to be exempt.

The new move means anyone undergoing treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment will no longer be charged for drugs, including medicines not relating to the actual disease.

The exemption will come in the form of a five-year certificate, which can be renewed as many times as required.

Forms needed to apply for the exemption will be available from surgeries and oncology clinics but must be countersigned by the patient’s GP, hospital doctor or service doctor.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Department of Health