The Tories are questioning the plan to abolish prescription charges in Scotland.
They claim that the money spent on abolishing charges, which the Tories set at £40m, would be better used to provide more health visitors.
The move follows chief whip David McLetchie calling the Scottish government plans to abolish the fees “Alex in Wonderland economics”.
If recently-introduced regulations are approved by Holyrood, prescription charges could be abolished altogether by 2011.
In April, charges are due to fall from £4 to £3 as part of the plan to phase out the charges.
However, Tory health spokeswoman Mary Scanlon slammed the plan, saying the SNP would be giving out free prescriptions to the rich.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our aim remains to remove altogether this tax on ill-health and move towards restoring the NHS to its founding principles – free at the point of delivery and based on clinical need, not ability to pay. To want to reverse this progress is frankly shameful.”
The Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee is expected to vote on the regulations to reduce the charges next month.
Copyright © Press Association 2010
“I think it is a good idea to abolish prescription charges as it causes an unfair a advantage to patients who do not pay as they seem to be able to get even basic medicine free. There are a lot of low income working families who do not qualify for free scripts, and have to think twice about visiting the doctor in case they end up with a script they struggle to pay for, and those with long-term conditions who don’t qualify for help with costs are very very disadvantaged. All basic items for minor illnesses should be bought over the counter, surely this would have a tremendous cost-saving benefit to the NHS and reduce the number of unnecesary doctor appointments? Let’s go back to the priciples on which the NHS was founded and provide a fairer system for all” – Anne Care, West Midlands