Prescription charge axe approved (Scotland)

2 March 2011 Last updated at 12:28

MSPs vote to axe NHS prescription charges in Scotland

MSPs have voted to scrap NHS prescription charges in Scotland, an SNP pledge in the 2007 elections.

The Scottish government won the approval of Holyrood’s health committee to remove the current £3 charge.

A last-ditch Conservative and Lib Dem move to block the plan failed.

The price paid by patients for prescription medicine has been reduced each year since 2008 and a final vote will see charges removed in April.

Labour supports the plan but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats believe the cash could be better spent in other areas.

Scottish government health minister Shona Robison said lifting the charge would reduce the long-term cost to the health service and would no longer put people off going to see their doctor.

Wales and Northern Ireland have already removed NHS prescription charges, which cost £7.20 per item in England.