By Bill Heaney
Emma Harper (South Scotland) (SNP) raised the matter when she told parliament: “A consultation closes today on the proposal in England and Wales to increase the qualifying age for free prescriptions from 60 to the state pension age of 66.
“Age UK has branded the move as a “kick in the teeth” for older people. The proposal highlights the difference between the progressive Scottish National Party Government in Scotland and the cruel politics of Westminster.
“Will the First Minister confirm that no one in Scotland will be left struggling or unable to afford medicines that they need to stay as healthy as possible, and that prescriptions will remain free for all.”
Nicola Sturgeon assured here: “Yes, it is certainly the position of this Government that free prescriptions will remain.
“People should have access to the medicines that they need without charge and without having—as some people used to have to do—to make invidious choices between taking their medicines and feeding themselves. I never want to return to that.
“It beggars belief that elsewhere in the UK there is a consultation on taking away free prescriptions for people over 60.
“That is not my decision, obviously, but I hope that we do not see that direction of travel. I am categoric that, as long as this Government is in office, free prescriptions are here to stay.”