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Prescription Costs A Barrier To Healthcare

Published:27 February 2008
Fieldwork:17-22 January 2008
Theme:Health & NHS
Source:Citizens Advice Bureau
Keywords:Drugs, Health, NHS
(Click on keywords to find related Research)

New Ipsos MORI research for the Citizens Advice Bureaux suggests that around 800,000 people in England are not collecting their prescriptions or getting them dispensed because of the cost involved.

This research was also conducted in 2001 when it showed a very similar number of people falling into this category. Interestingly, this figure seems to have stayed at exactly the same level since then.

The findings also show that 70% of adults in England have been given a prescription by their GP in the last 12 months whilst only 60% of Scots can say the same.

Topline Results

  • 1,075 interviews (880 England; 195 Scotland) with adults aged 16+. Conducted in-home, face-to-face using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing).
  • Fieldwork conducted 17-22 January 2008.
  • 166 sampling points in England, 18 in Scotland.
  • Base all (880 England; 195 Scotland) unless otherwise stated.
  • Data weighted to be representative of the known population.
  • '*' denotes a finding of less than half a per cent, but more than zero. Where figures do not add up to 100% this is due to computer rounding or multiple answers.
  • Estimate of projected numbers is based on a population size of 41,088,900 adults aged 16+ in England.

Q1 Have you been given a prescription by your GP or Doctor in the last twelve months?

  Eng Scot
  % %
Yes 70 60
No 29 40
Don't know 1 -
Refused * 1

Q2 Which, if any, of the statements on this card applies to you? Please read out the letter which applies.

Base: All who have been given a prescription by their GP in the last 12 months (629 England, 123 Scotland)

  Eng Scot
  % %
I have to pay a prescription charge each time I get a prescription dispensed 41 38
I pay my prescription charges by pre-payment certificate (season ticket) 3 5
I do not have to pay for my prescriptions 56 57
None of these - -
Don't know - -
Refused - -

Q3 Have you, in the last twelve months, ever failed to collect and pay for all or part of a prescription because of the cost involved, or chosen not to get a prescription dispensed because of the cost involved? Is that all or part of the prescription?)

Base: All who have to pay a prescription charge for each prescription when they receive it (217 England, 43 Scotland — Note: small base for Scotland; data therefore unreliable)

  Eng Scot
  % %
No, have collected and paid for all 91 83
Yes — did not collect and pay for part of a prescription because of cost 6 15
Yes — did not collect and pay for all of a prescription because of cost 2 -
Yes — did not collect and pay for all or part of a prescription for other reasons (excluding cost) 2 -
Don't know - 2
Refused * -

Estimated number of people not collecting all or part of their prescriptions or not getting them dispensed because of the cost:

c.800,000 for England, with a margin of error of +/-1% of the entire adult population in England aged 16+, 95 times in 100

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