A NURSE says lives are being put at risk because asthma patients cannot afford their prescriptions.

Bonnie Beard, a respiratory nurse who works at Great Bentley surgery, has backed calls for the costs to be reviewed.

A report by Asthma UK found many patients were struggling to pay the £9 cost for each prescription.

Bonnie, who sees around 20 patients with asthma every week, said some were resorting to using their child’s inhaler.

She said: “I know first hand the cost of asthma prescriptions can be harmful to patients as it can prevent them from managing their asthma and in some cases, this can put lives at risk.

“Most weeks, I speak to patients whose asthma has worsened or who have had asthma attacks, sometimes requiring emergency care because they have been unable to afford to take the medication that keeps them well.”

Asthma UK says it is unfair people with asthma have to pay for prescriptions when people with other long term conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy get free prescriptions.

Bonnie added: “I want the best for my patients so it is frustrating that some of them become unwell because they can’t afford to pay for their prescriptions.

“It seems unfair they have to pay when those with other long term life-threatening conditions such as diabetes are exempt.

“Some of my patients might need as many as five prescription items but they have to wait until they get paid before they can afford to get their medicine.

“Others are borrowing their child’s inhaler or one from a relative or friend which means they are taking medication which may not be right for them. This can put them at risk of having poorly controlled asthma.

“The Government needs to urgently review prescription charges for asthma patients before more suffer or lives are lost by those who can’t afford to pay for medicine.”

Asthma UK has launched a Stop Unfair Asthma Prescription Charges campaign.

To sign the petition visit action.asthma.org.uk.