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  • Northside East

Local calls for abolition of prescription charges 

Friday, 12th January, 2018 1:00pm
Local calls for abolition of prescription charges 

Dick O’Leary is one of many who will benefit from the reduction of the prescription charge. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Local calls for abolition of prescription charges 

Dick O’Leary is one of many who will benefit from the reduction of the prescription charge. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

A NORTHSIDE senior citizen has backed calls for prescription charges to be scrapped.

It was announced in Budget 2018 that the charge, introduced during the height of the recession, will be reduced from €2.50 to €2 per item and there would be a reduction in the monthly cap from €25 to €20. This came into effect on January 1. 

Dick O’Leary (82), from Coolock, has backed Fine Gael Senator James Reilly’s call for the complete abolition of the charge. 

Mr O’Leary said that while the reduction is welcome, and “every little helps”, it’s now time to abolish it altogether.

“Myself and my wife are paying €2.50 every month which amounts to €30 a year. That is a lot to a senior citizen and would go towards paying utility bills which have high rates. 

“I am glad, though, that the Government is listening to the concerns of senior citizens.”

Dublin Fingal Senator James Reilly pointed out that the recession is over and finances are improving. 

“I am calling on the Government to abolish prescription charges as soon as possible,” said Senator Reilly.

“As a GP I was never in favour of prescription charges as they are an impediment to access of prescribed medications.

“I was forced to increase prescription charges during the financial emergency, when Ireland’s income was way less than what we were spending.

“I always said the charges should be removed when our finances were back in order. That day has arrived.”

Senator Reilly said he welcomes Minister for Health Simon Harris’s move to reduced the charge in 2018. 

“But let me be clear, I want them removed in total next year at budget time,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a further boost for local families, more savings came into effect on January 1 in relation to the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS). 

This year local families will also save up to €120 a year in medication costs with a reduction of €10 in the monthly threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme.

Budget 2018 provided for a reduction in the DPS monthly threshold from €144 to €134, with effect from January 1. 

The DPS is intended to protect people and families who don't have a medical card against excessive health costs, through a monthly cap on approved medicine costs. It also applies to those who have a GP visit card.

Senator Reilly added: “Reducing the cost of medicines for families is a key commitment in the Programme for Government.” 

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here