The credit crunch is squeezing our finances from every angle and new research has suggested that we are in danger of being unable to afford prescription costs, which now stands at £7.10 per item.

Prescriptions are free in Wales and will be free in Scotland from 2011, but there are currently no plans to roll this out to patients in England. The Department of Health committed to consult on the issue of prescription charges in July 2007, but no further progress has been made.

Debt worries mean that almost a million people have gone without their prescription due to the cost. Citizens Advice report that around 800,000 people last year did not pick up their prescription for this reason alone.

David Harker, Citizens Advice chief executive, commented: “While the Government has been dragging its feet over tackling this issue, nearly a million people have gone without the prescriptions they need because of the cost.”