MSE News

NHS prescription charge to rise to £9

NHS prescription charge to rise to £9

The NHS prescription charge in England is set to increase by 20p to £9 – but hundreds of thousands of patients could save by getting a 'prescription season ticket'.

The Government has announced that the price will increase from Monday 1 April, while charges for wigs and fabric supports, such as spinal supports, will rise in line with inflation.

But the cost of a prescription prepayment certificate – essentially a season ticket that covers the cost of all prescriptions for a certain period – will be frozen at £29.10 for three months or £104 for a year.

Last year, we revealed that hundreds of thousands of patients could save an average of almost £50 a year with a prescription prepayment certificate, and you can now get an instant digital certificate online.

The charges only apply to patients in England, as prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

See our Cheap Medicines guide for more ways to save on prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.

How are other charges changing?

Charges for other items such as wigs and fabric supports are also set to increase:

  • Surgical bras will increase from £28.85 to £29.50.

  • Abdominal or spinal supports will rise from £43.60 to £44.55.

  • Stock-size modacrylic (ie, synthetic) wigs will go from £71.25 to £72.80.

  • Partial human hair wigs will increase from £188.70 to £192.85.

  • Full bespoke human hair wigs will rise from £275.95 to £282.

How to check if you can save with a prepay certificate

A prepayment certificate can mean big savings. Anyone who lives in England can apply for one, though check if you're eligible for free prescriptions first. 

The amount you can save with a prescription prepayment certificate depends on how many prescriptions you pay for and over what period, but roughly, getting one will help you save if you pay for more than one prescription a month.

Prescription items currently cost £8.80 (rising to £9 from Monday 1 April), so if you'll pay for four in a three-month period, a three-month prepay certificate, costing £29.10, would save you £6.10 (or £6.90 after the increase). If you get 13 over the course of a year, a 12-month prepay certificate, costing £104, would save you £10.40 (or £13 after the increase) – and if you need more, you'll save more.

See Cheap Medicines for more info on how to apply for a prepayment certificate.