Specifically, Age UK is sounding the alarm bell that unpaid caregivers, many of whom are over 60, will be affected by the policy change. Recent government proposals include aligning access to free prescriptions with the 66-year-old state pension. As a result, many people who would have been entitled to free medication once they reached the age of 60 would have to wait even longer to receive the âfreeâ benefit.
According to Age UK, one in four people aged 60 to 65 is the unpaid caregiver of a loved one, which represents around 860,000 people.
Less than one in ten unpaid caregivers in this age group receive essential support for benefits to which they may be entitled, such as care allowance.
In addition, about 56% of this group that does not have a paid job will have given up their job to care for a loved one.
This will make it even more difficult for caregivers to get the money to pay for their prescriptions from the NHS.
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Thanks to Age UK, retirees and those affected by the change in prescribing policy were able to receive essential support and guidance in navigating as a caregiver of a certain age.
Debbie, who has received support from the charity, explained why she thinks the government’s decision is the wrong one to make.
She said: âI had to take early retirement with a reduced pension to take care of my husband who has dementia.
âMoney is tight – It seems discriminatory because the more health problems you have, the harder you will be hit. “
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Criticizing the Health Secretary’s decision to potentially implement this change in NHS prescriptions, Age UK chief executive Caroline Abrahams highlighted what is at stake for many caregivers in their 60s.
Ms Abrahams explained: “MP Sajid Javid has called on families to do more to help their loved ones, apparently unaware that his own department is considering a policy change that, if implemented, will affect several thousand brilliant caregivers in the country. early and mid 60s really hard.
âIt’s a nonsense juxtaposition and a real kick in the teeth for older caregivers. Mr Javid is new to the job, he may not yet realize that one in four of those aged 60 to 65 is a caregiver, often for an aging parent, sometimes for a partner or a sick adult child or disabled.
âThe government cannot have it both ways: if it is serious about valuing caregivers – people who sacrifice so much and thus save the country billions a year – it should put aside the idea of make sure that any 60-65 year old who exempt from paying for their prescriptions, after many years of gratuity.
In addition, the expert on policies affecting retirees explained how unpaid caregivers are not immune to their own health issues and could risk their health by paying for someone else’s medication and not theirs.
She added: “There is a lot of evidence showing that older caregivers often struggle with their own health issues, so forcing them to start paying for their medications just risks making them even less fit and healthier. .
“When a caregiver’s health deteriorates and they are unable to continue caring for them, it is not only bad news for them and their loved one, it also puts additional strain on our health care system. and care besieged.
“So why is the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs considering adopting a policy that makes the breakdown of caregivers more likely, and at a time when we are not yet out of the woods of the pandemic?”
âThe negative impact on older caregivers of this policy proposal adds to our feeling that it has not been properly thought through.
“A senior doctor told me this was a ‘ridiculous idea’ because it is so likely to fail.”
Anyone concerned about changes to the free NHS prescriptions are encouraged to contact Age UK for advice as soon as possible.