Big change in NHS prescriptions today as millions have to pay more

PRESCRIPTION FEES have risen in price today – but HRT costs have been reduced in a major NHS change.

Millions of Brits are now having to pay more for most prescriptions as the government plans to increase fees to match inflation.

Millions of Britons will have to pay more for most prescriptions as the government plans to increase fees to match inflation


Millions of Britons will have to pay more for most prescriptions as the government plans to increase fees to match inflationPhoto credit: Getty

Prescription fees were frozen at £9.35 per item last April to help people cope with the cost of living crisis.

But the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has now applied an inflation rate of 3.21 per cent, taking prescription fees to £9.65.

Charities say the surge will make a big dent in families’ budgets.

Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Crohn’s & Colitis UK said: “We know the cost of prescriptions is a major concern for people in our community.

“An increase of 30p per item may not sound like much, but every penny counts when you have to make tough decisions about paying your bills or paying for that medicine you urgently need.

“Living with a chronic illness is stressful enough without adding additional financial pressures.”

The cost of prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) has also increased, with three-month PPCs up £1 to £31.25 and 12-month PPCs up £3.50 to £111.60.

England is the only country in the UK that still charges prescription drugs.

Some people in England can still collect their prescription medicines free of charge, but only if they are part of certain eligible groups.

A group of 40 charities raised concerns that diseases like asthma, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, motor neuron disease, cystic fibrosis, stroke and Parkinson’s are not on the exception list.

Laura Cockram, Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said: “The list of prescription charge waivers is in dire need of reform.

“The system is failing people with long-term illnesses who are forced to make decisions every day about whether to feed their families, pay their bills or take medication.

Who is exempt from the prescription fee?

You can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is issued, you:

  • are 60 or older
  • are under 16
  • are 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • are pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months and hold a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate (MatEx).
  • have a specific medical condition and hold a valid Medical Exemption Certificate (MedEx).
  • have a persistent physical disability that prevents you from leaving the home without assistance from another person and have a valid Medical Exemption Certificate (MedEx).
  • hold a valid War Pension Exemption Certificate and the prescription applies to your accepted disability
  • are an inpatient NHS patient

Medical exemption certificates are issued if you:

  • Cancer, including the effects of cancer or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment
  • a permanent fistula (eg, a laryngostomy, colostomy, ileostomy, or some renal dialysis fistulas) requiring a continuous surgical dressing or device
  • a form of hypoadrenalism (eg, Addison’s disease)
  • Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • Diabetes mellitus unless treated solely by diet
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myxedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsant therapy
  • a permanent physical disability that means you cannot go out without help from another person (temporary disabilities do not count, even if they last for several months)

You are also eligible for free prescriptions if you or your partner (including domestic partners) are receiving or are under the age of 20 and are dependent on someone who receives various benefits.

Read more about who can get free NHS prescriptions.

“We know that the rise in prices will result in sick people relying more on NHS services, which are already at breaking point.”

But with a win for the Sun’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, hundreds of thousands of women are now saving £205 a year on the drugs.

The launch starting today will include a one off charge of £19.30 for a 12 month supply in lieu of repeat prescriptions.

Maria Caulfield, Minister for Health Strategy for Women, praised The Sun for its cost-cutting campaign, saying: “I am very grateful to Sun for her work on the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign and to her readers for their continued support.

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“We know that every woman is different and may benefit from different treatments for menopause symptoms.

“HRT is the most important treatment for menopause and price should not be a barrier to access.” Big change in NHS prescriptions today as millions have to pay more

Andrew Schnitker

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