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Autumn Statement: “Immediate” cost of living support package needed for those living with ill health and disability to “alleviate their suffering”

National Voices, a 200-member coalition of health and care charities, has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to deliver an “immediate support package” for people living with health and disability who are worst impacted by the cost of living crisis to “alleviate their suffering”.

  • Health inequalities
  • Hospital waiting lists
  • Primary care

In a letter sent to Jeremy Hunt on 14 November, National Voices said there would be a “serious impact on the NHS”, if no package is forthcoming as a result of people being unable to afford prescriptions, feed themselves appropriately, keep warm and travel to hospital appointments. 

The letter is signed by 75 member charities representing a variety of health conditions and communities. 

National Voices has asked the Chancellor to commit to:  

  • Introducing free prescriptions for all 
  • Guaranteeing an NHS dentist for all 
  • Provide more support with the costs of accessing health and care services 
  • Extend statutory sick time periods 
  • Reimburse energy costs related to health and disability needs 

Jacob Lant, Chief Executive of National Voices says: 

This winter people’s health will worsen and the NHS, already facing unprecedented demand, will be even more severely impacted if the Chancellor doesn’t act now to alleviate the cost of living crisis on those living with ill health and disability. 

The cost of living crisis is not being felt equally across society. Many people are finding themselves pushed into financial crisis by longer waits for appointments, referrals and care which has meant people are off work for longer while they wait for treatment.   

This is why we are deeply troubled to hear about the Chancellor’s plans to restrict free NHS treatment for people who “aren’t looking for work.” As put forth in the asks of our joint letter, we should be looking to extend free prescriptions, not cutting them, especially for people with long term health conditions and disability. 

Read the joint letter in full, along with the list of supportive organisations here.