Prescription charges are to rise by 20p on 1 April, Health Minister Rosie Winterton disclosed today.
The cost of each quantity of drug will rise from £6.65 to £6.85, raising £425 million for the NHS in 2007/08, she said in a written statement to the Commons.
Dental treatment courses will also rise from the same date, by a rate lower than inflation.
Optical vouchers for children, low-income people or those with complex sight problems will rise by an average 2.7 per cent, Ms Winterton said.
Professor Jessica Corner, Director of improving cancer services at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘We are extremely disappointed to hear that the government has decided to raise prescription charges in England, particularly as they are to be abolished entirely in Wales on the same day.
‘Our research shows that one in seven cancer patients aged 55 and under (14 per cent) who currently have to pay for prescriptions are unable to afford their cancer treatment.
‘This news will be yet another blow to patients facing a double whammy of increased costs and a significant drop in income as a result of their cancer.’
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