For decades those with chronic conditions have been faced with the difficulty of paying for prescriptions whilst also managing their health conditions.
Many with long term health conditions require prescription medications to help manage their symptoms and provide a degree of quality of life. That is why one woman has decided to campaign for free prescriptions for others with long term chronic conditions.
Mia Vallely, 21, was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2019 while studying for her A-Levels after years of symptoms. MS is a lifelong condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord. The disease happens when the immune system isn’t working properly and currently there is no cure.
Mia has experienced symptoms since she was 13 after struggling to keep her balance and having little to no feeling in her legs and hands.
“I was repeatedly ignored by doctors and everything was put down to puberty. At 15 I went back with a symptom of chronic pain and I was labelled as a hypochondriac by my GP.
It wasn’t until I was 17, when I woke up completely blind in one eye that I was finally taken seriously. It took about 6 months of tests to get an official diagnosis. The form of MS I have is called RRMS, which means relapsing-remitting MS. This means I have periods of remission, however I am rarely ever symptomless.
Like anyone I have good days and bad, but for me at the moment my MS is very active. I have recently had a chemotherapy based treatment called Lemtrada. The recovery for this has led to my MS flaring up, and most days involve pain, and cognitive issues.“
However, another battle that Mia did not expect to face was the cost of the prescriptions that she needs to help manage her condition.
“At the moment I am on about 12 different medications, but at my peak period of struggling it was over 20. I do have the prepayment certificate which is around £100 a year, but I didn’t know about this for years.
Some months I was paying £100+ just to function. Even with the certificate I do not feel like I should be paying to function, as these pills help me manage pain, and my mental health.
My medications are also constantly changing. Following my treatment I became very deficient in most areas, and I had to lay to get my special vitamin D tablets and B12 tablets. These were areas which were completely out of my control as my body was failing to absorb any naturally.
Managing the medication, and the thought of doing monthly orders used to make me not want to take the medication as the stress would sometimes lead me to deteriorate further.”
The NHS prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) is effectively a ‘season prescription ticket’ which covers all your NHS prescriptions, no matter how many items you need. (PPC) you can find out more here.
Mia has recently started a campaign to petition for free prescriptions for others like herself who suffer with a long term and/or chronic condition. Mia started the petition to the government less than a week ago and has already reached over 12,000 signatures. You can sign the petition here.
Mia hopes the petition will help to show that though disabilities such as MS and ME are not ‘invisible’ as they’re often referred as, but instead are very much present and in need of support.
You can keep up to date with Mia’s activism by following her Instagram page: Not My MS.
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