article in the Sunday Telegraph
"It is understood that Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, is drawing up plans to extend the prescription charge exemption recently awarded to cancer sufferers to other serious conditions.
But the proposal has caused anxiety at The Treasury where ministers are demanding that the plans be self-financing as the NHS faces unprecedented pressure on its budget.
It will be announced this week that compensation payouts for medical negligence have risen sharply and are set to double next year, putting further pressure on new spending projects.
The cost of extending free prescriptions to asthma sufferers, which is expected to be announced this Spring, could cost tens of millions of pounds a year.
It has been the subject of a long running row between Mr Johnson and The Treasury with the latter insisting that it is funded through money raised from other prescription charges, but this may be nowhere near enough.
There are also concerns that the move will prompt demands from sufferers of other debilitating conditions, such as Alzheimer's, to be made exempt from charges."
So medical negligence payouts are set to double next year? - Does anyone ever think to try to reduce the incidences of medical negligence? - What about including medical negligence in the topics dealt with in Medical Ethics courses? - To get medical students to think about the harm they may do and the suffering/difficulties/problems/expense they may cause by not familiarising themselves with the side-effects of drugs they will be prescribing, for instance, before they actually cause the harm and destroy the lives of their innocent victims/patients.