PRESCRIPTION charges are likely to be raised to more than pounds 4 per item next April, as part of the toughest cuts in public expenditure in a decade, writes Colin Brown. The charges were raised by 10 per cent to pounds 3.75 this year, within weeks of the general election. They would rise to pounds 4.12 if increased by a similar amount next year.
Increases in NHS charges above the rate of inflation were defended by Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, in an interview with the Independent.
She is planning to use Britain's presidency of the EC to establish a Europe-wide system for alerting the public about the outbreak of communicable diseases.