NHS prescription charges confirmed but 15 groups could get medication free

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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The Government health minister Edward Argawill has confirmed the charge will stay at £9.35 per item next month. He confirmed there would be no changes to the current prescription price, despite the fee having previously risen in April.

Even though the price is staying the same, April will be a hard time for some as the cost of living crisis means finances will continue to be squeezed.

With the National Insurance increase, and energy bills soaring, many Britons may be wondering how to save some extra cash.

Campaigners are urging Britons to check they are receiving all the state benefits they are entitled to.

Free prescriptions are under threat for more than two million people as part of plans being drafted up to bring the benefit in line with the state pension age.

Under the proposals, people aged between 60 and 65 would no longer get the benefit.

Free prescriptions for older people would only kick in when why reach 66, so they are being urged to check if they can receive the benefit another way.

Those claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and working tax credits could be making savings with free NHS prescriptions.

Who qualifies for free NHS prescriptions?

  • People under 16
  • Anyone aged 60 or over
  • People aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • Pregnant mothers, or anyone who has had a baby in the previous 12 months and has a valid maternity exemption certificate
  • Those who are registered disabled
  • An NHS inpatient
  • People in receipt of Income Support
  • Anyone in receipt of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Those in receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance Applicants in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Some Universal Credit claimants
  • Some people claiming child tax credits or working tax credits
  • Those in receipt of a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)
  • Anyone living in Scotland
  • People living in Wales

Britons are encouraged to use the government’s eligibility checker tool to find out if they qualify for free prescriptions.

People with certain medical conditions can also apply for free NHS prescriptions though an exemption certificate.

Someone can fill out FP92A form from their doctor to apply for this. Their GP will sign the form to verify their application.

The certificate will be valid from one month before the date the NHS Business Services Authority receives the application form and will last for five years.

Usually they are issued to if people have the following health conditions:

  • Cancer, including ongoing or previous cancer treatment
  • A permanent fistula requiring continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
  • A form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison’s disease)
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myxoedema Epilepsy
  • A physical and permanent disability

Alternatively, people who don’t qualify for help could still make savings by purchasing a Prepayment Certificate (PPC).

This would save someone £40 a year if they rely on one prescription per month.

If they need two prescriptions per month, they could save £113.60 a year.

There’s the option of purchasing a three month or 12 month certificate.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said lots of people are exempt from paying for their prescriptions.

They said: “Around 90 percent of community prescriptions in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60, or have certain medical conditions.

“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link between this and the state pension age.”

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