The Government must scrap the £20,000 amine tax credit, say charities and charities organisations that have been campaigning for it for years.
Theresa May has announced she will be reducing the credit from £40,000 to £20.50, which charities, charities organisations and medical experts have described as a massive blow to patients and the NHS.
Critics say the move could undermine the NHS and the charity sector, and it could also lead to higher prices for patients.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, charities, hospitals and charities groups called on the Government to reverse its move.
“This move is a big blow to the charities sector and the health service and will mean many patients will not be able to afford to see a specialist and it will be very expensive for patients to see specialists,” said Kate Hollingsworth, a clinical social worker and founder of charity and NHS charity Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).
“It will also undermine the ability of charities to work to improve the care for people in the community.”
Ms Hollingswell said the change will cost the NHS £60 million over the next five years.
The move will mean that patients with serious illnesses will have to pay an additional £8,000 and those with minor illnesses will be paying an additional charge of £6,000.
Ms Wright, the chief executive of the charity and hospital charity The Royal Society, said: “This is a massive tax increase that will have a devastating impact on patients with complex and complex conditions, and on the wider community.
This will also mean that a lot of patients will have no choice but to pay the higher cost of a specialist service because of the tax burden.”
But charities and other organisations say the cut would cost patients and families hundreds of thousands of pounds, as well as damaging the NHS by undermining the charity model.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the Government was “taking the necessary steps to ensure the right changes are made”.
“We will be reviewing all options to ensure they are right for patients and for the economy,” they said.
Dr Richard Walker, chief executive officer of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the changes were an attack on the charity industry and the trust sector.
He said: “[The Government] has just launched a tax policy that will cause many more people to be forced into debt and worse for the NHS, as it will leave patients with less to do in the NHS.”
He also said it would leave patients without the services they need.
What charities say about the amine credits change: The charity charity The Children’s Society said it supported the Government’s plans, but warned the cut to the amines credit would be “very damaging” for patients with conditions that were too complicated to treat themselves.
Mr Walker said: “The reduction to the charity credit will be disastrous for patients suffering from complex conditions that are too complicated for them to be treated themselves.”
It is also a hugely regressive tax on the UK, which is a major source of funding for charities.
We believe the Government must reverse this and take action to help those who need help the most.
“A spokesman for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: [The] Government has now reduced the aminine credit for treating patients with a complex condition to £40k.
This will leave many patients in the position of having to pay £8k to see their specialist.
As a consequence of this cut, many patients who would otherwise have been able to see an A&E specialist for a very low price will now pay £6k.
[This] is hugely damaging for patients who are not in a position to afford the A&Es specialist.”
The Pharmaceutical Society is calling on the government to provide funding for specialist A&ES specialist services to help patients who cannot afford it.
“The Royal College said the government’s move to cut the amINE credits would “leave many patients with no choice” but to spend more time in hospital, and also increase costs for patients by “increasing their hospital admissions”.
It said: “We are concerned about the impact of this tax on patients and our medical and mental health services.”
We urge the government not to make this cut and to consider patient care as a priority.”
Dr Walker said the cut could also be “devastating” for the charity business and the public sector as it would lead to a “huge increase in patient wait times”. He added: “[The Government’s cut] will be hugely damaging to the UK economy and our public services.”
What the charities say is the government has not explained why it is cutting the aminations credit in this way, or whether it has consulted with charities, patients and their families.
Read more: Read the full letter from charities, organisations and charities here.
More to come.