GB News’ Breakfast co-host Isabel Webster clashed with Dr Laurence Gerlis, a GP at Same Day Doctor, over the Government’s move to scrap free prescriptions. Prescriptions, which have been free for over-60s for over 25 years, could soon have to be paid for from April 1. Dr Gerlis supported the plans, claiming that he wouldn’t mind paying for his prescriptions.
He added: “I think that’s actually a reasonable thing to do.
“I don’t see why all over-60s should get them for free.”
This sparked a fierce rebuke from Isabel Webster, who responded: “Times have changed. Sorry to interrupt you but people can’t even get appointments to see doctors anymore.
“It is much harder than it was. I take your point that you would be happy to pay for your prescriptions.”
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She continued: “But, with the greater respect, as a doctor, you are well able to afford that.
“There will be many people watching this programme, perhaps over-60, still working and very worried about all the cost of living crises we have discussed this week.
“They will be thinking this is one thing too far.”
Dr Gerlis replied: “I agree, Isabel. I think £9.35 is a lot, but that’s because only 10 percent of patients pay it.
Last year, the Government announced that the eligible age for free prescriptions in England would be raised up to 66 from 60, in line with the State Pension age.
Earlier on GB News, Chief Medical Officer at BUPA Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen hit out at the plans.
He said: “It’s picking on the elderly and people with chronic conditions who aren’t covered by the exemptions. It’s an unfair system.”
Sarah Coles, a senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the move to scrap free prescriptions could economic hardship for millions.
Ms Coles said: “At the moment there’s no charge for over-60s but that could soon change. If it does, it would drag millions of people into having to pay for essential medicines.
“2022 is a year of change, but not in a good way. Most of the financial developments in the pipeline will leave us worse off”.