As Budget 2019 approaches I would like to welcome the news that the current Fine Gael/FF supported Government looks set to reduce the cost of the highly unpopular €2 prescription charge for 1.6 million medical card holders, the extent of which could be in the region of 50c, leaving the charge at €1.50 per prescription item, with a cap of €15 a month.

The proceeds from the charge have become a lucrative source of income for the HSE and bring in approximately €120m a year. It has meant that many people who are on the lowest of incomes have contributed more than half-a-billion euro since the prescription charge was introduced in 2011.

However it is my view that this levy was also an unnecessary and unfair financial attack on the vulnerable and the sick and it is is good to see it reduced – I would hope to see it eradicated it altogether at some stage.