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Concern over plan to raise age for NHS exemptions

An Island charity says plans to increase the age at which elderly people receive free prescriptions could leave those on low fixed incomes facing difficult choices.

The Department of Health will next week ask Tynwald to approve a rise in the exemption age for older people from 60 to the state pension age, currently 65 for men and rising to 65 for women in the next few years.

A similar move is being made to increase the upper exemption age for NHS dental charges and to lower it from 18 to 16. 

Health bosses say almost 90 per cent of prescriptions issued each year are to people exempt from charges, and the situation is not sustainable, although exemptions will remain in place for registered blind people and those on various state benefits.

Age Isle of Man's chief executive George Quayle says savings have to be found somewhere but he's concerned for those who will struggle to pay for their medication:

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