NHS prescriptions in England will rise 25p to £7.65 from April, MPs were told today.

Charges for basic dental treatment will go up to 50p to £17.50, with increases of up to £5 for more complex work.

The changes were outlined in a written statement to Parliament by Health Minister Simon Burns.

But prescription payment certificates (PPCs), which are valid for three months, will remain at £29.10. The price of an annual PPC will be held at £104.

Burns says: "PPCs offer savings for those needing four or more items in three months or 14 or more items in one year."

The changes, due to take effect from 1 April, will be made in regulations laid before Parliament shortly.

Dental rises

The dental charge payable for a "band 1" course of treatment — examination, diagnosis and advice, including X-rays, a scale and polish and planning for further work if necessary — will rise 50p to £17.50.

Band 2 charges, covering fillings, root canal treatment and extractions, will go up by £1 to £48.

For Band 3 work, such as crowns, dentures and bridges, the cost will increase by £5 to £209.

A Department of Health spokesman says: "The Government is investing an extra £12.5 billion in the NHS. And we are cutting back on bureaucracy, releasing an extra £4.5 billion for patient services.

"In England, around 90% of prescription items are dispensed free.

"We have frozen the price of both the three month and the 12 month prescription pre-payment certificate so that anyone who needs 14 or more prescription items in a year can get all the prescriptions they need for an average cost of £2 per week."

Prescriptions free elsewhere

England is the only part of the United Kingdom where patients have to pay for prescriptions.

Scotland last year joined Wales and Northern Ireland in removing the charge for medicines.

A Welsh Government spokesman says: "Prescriptions will remain free in Wales.

"We see free prescriptions as a long-term investment in improving health. By providing people with the medications they need, it will help to keep them out of hospitals through reduced emergency admissions and therefore reduce the cost to the NHS in Wales."