NHS prescription and dental charges will increase in England from 1 April, the Department of Health has today announced. But, if possible, try to book a dental appointment or get your prescription ahead of that date to beat the hikes.
The move will see prescription charges increase by 15p from £8.05 to £8.20 for each medicine or appliance dispensed. See our Cheap prescriptions guide to slash the cost of prescriptions and medicines.
However the cost of prescription payment certificates (PPCs) – 'season tickets' which can be bought to cover prescription costs for three or 12 months and typically save money for people who people who use more than one prescription a month – will be frozen for the second year running.
These three month PPC costs £29.10 while the annual certificate costs £104.
Parliamentary under-secretary in the Department of Health, Earl Howe says: "This government has made tough decisions to protect the NHS budget and increase it in real terms, but health charges remain an important source of revenue to support the delivery of high quality NHS services.
"This is particularly important given the increasing demands on the NHS, with spending on medicines alone doubling since 2000. It is therefore crucial that these charges increase to keep up with rising costs."
The Government adds that 90% of prescription items are already provided free of charge.
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Dental prices in England are also increasing:
- The Band 1 course of treatment will increase by 30p from £18.50 to £18.80. This covers examination, diagnosis and advice.
- The Band 2 course of treatment will increase by 80p from £50.50 to £51.30. This covers fillings, root canal treatment and extractions.
- The Band 3 course of treatment will increase by £3.50 from £219 to £222.50. This covers crowns, bridges, and the installing of dentures or braces.
Fabric support and wigs
The cost of fabric support and wigs is also increasing by 1.6% overall. From 1 April these items will now cost the following:
- Surgical brassiere will increase to £27.45.
- Abdominal or spinal support will increase to £41.50
- Stock modacrylic wig will increase to £67.75
- Partial human hair wig will increase to £179.45
- Full bespoke human hair wig will increase to £262.45.
However the range of NHS optical vouchers, which help children, those on low incomes and those with complex sight problems with the cost of glasses and contact lenses, will increase in value by 1% overall.
See the Parliament UK website for a full breakdown of the new prices.
What about prescription and dental charges outside of England?
England is the only part of the United Kingdom where patients have to pay for prescriptions. In 2011, Scotland joined Wales and Northern Ireland in removing the charge for medicines.
When it comes to dental charges outside of England it's slightly different depending on the country.
In Scotland, patients currently pay 80% of the cost of NHS dental treatment up to a maximum of £384 per course of treatment unless they are entitled to free NHS dental treatment or help with the cost towards their treatment. For example if they're a pensioner on pension credit or on a low income.
It's been agreed that dental fees will increase by 1.61% but the maximum a patient can pay per course of treatment remains at £384.
In Wales, basic NHS dental treatment will also rise by 50p from £13 to £13.50. Band 2 treatment will increase by £1 from £42 to £43 and Band 3 treatment will increase by £4.10 from £180.90 to £185 from 1 April.
In Northern Ireland, you can view the current list of dental charges online. With regards to a check-up, there's no specific single cost as there is in England as the charge depends on the examination, advice and treatment plans that are provided at the check-up.
When it comes to price increases, dental charges usually increase year-on-year. A 1% increase for dental charges in 2015 has been recommended by The Doctors and Dentist Review Body. The Department of Health, Social Service and Public Safety in Northern Ireland is now considering this recommendation.