Audlem on BBC1 this morning

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Audlem will be featured on BBC1's Dom's on the Case starting at 9.15 this morning. The programme is looking at why prescriptions are free in some parts of the country, and for some long-term conditions, while others have to pay, including many needing drugs for chronic conditions.

Audlem is being featured because of the spoof story in April this year saying the village was considering applying to join Wales, in part because of that country's free prescription charges. This will be the fifth time TV channels have featured the village while radio stations as far away as New Zealand, plus many national and local newspapers have covered the story.

By an incredible coincidence, the Prime Minister now appears to recognise the importance of the issue with his announcement only yesterday that more conditions, including cancer, will qualify for free prescriptions, irrespective of which part of the UK patients live in. Yet, only six months ago, the Government raised the cost of those very same drugs — thus triggering the Audlem spoof Welsh story. Has Gordon Brown been listening to Audlem's prescription argument, we wonder?

Many will remember the BBC filming in Audlem during the summer with members of the 5As Theatre group involved. Others were interviewed — or provided rural sound effects! It's thought this morning's film will include shots in the village centre, Audlem Wharf and the Shroppie Fly.

The programme is part of a week-long investigation of the state of the NHS today by Dom Littlewood who considers the issues around why residents of Wales have free prescriptions while across the border in Audlem, each prescription can cost £7.10.

The programme is also looking at the 'drugs post code lottery' where Primary Care Trusts have differing policies on making drugs available on the NHS. It features another aspect of the 'Welsh' debate with a Welsh resident having to move to Cheshire so he can have the drug Sutent free on the NHS.


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