Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions
Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).
The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.
From 1 April 2021, the charges are:
- current prescription charge – £9.35 per item
- three-month PPC – £30.25; this will save you money if you need more than three prescribed items in three months
- 12-month PPC – £108.10; this will save you money if you need more than 12 prescribed items in a year
There are several payment options available. If you choose the 12-month PPC, you can pay for this upfront, or by 10 monthly direct debit instalments.
Find out more about the prescription prepayment certificate.
If you need to access the services below, the medicines you're prescribed are free:
- medicines administered at a hospital or an NHS walk-in centre
- prescribed contraceptives
- medicines personally administered by a GP or provided via a patient group direction (PGD)
- medicines supplied at a hospital or clinical commissioning group (CCG) clinic for the treatment of a sexually transmitted infection, tuberculosis, or a mental disorder for those subject to a supervised community treatment order
You will also be exempt from charges if you are:
- Aged over 60, under 16, or 16-18 in full time education
- Benefits: Income based IS, JSA, ESA: Pension Credits: Tax Credits: War Pension-show your award notice as proof. Low income not on benefits- you can apply for a Full Help with Health Cost Certificate.
- Some long term medical conditions, and pregnancy and new mothers are exempt, you will require a doctors certificate as proof.
It is your responsibility to ensure an exemption certificate is valid. If you do not pay prescription charges and your exemption has expired you could be fined. Please ask and check the NHS BSA website
There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website
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