MSE News

NHS prescription costs in England to rise by 20p to £9.35 an item from April

The NHS prescription charge in England will increase by 20p to £9.35 from 1 April, it's been confirmed. The cost of prescription prepayment certificates - essentially season tickets you use to cut costs if you pay for multiple prescriptions over a set period - are also rising. 

Here's what's changing from 1 April:

  • Single prescription items will increase from £9.15 to £9.35 - a 20p (2%) increase.
  • Three-month prescription prepayment certificates will increase from £29.65 to £30.25 - a 60p (2%) increase.
  • 12-month prescription prepayment certificates will increase from £105.90 to £108 - a £2.10 (2%) increase. 

The charges apply when you collect your prescription, not when it is issued, although many are likely to be able to save with a prepayment certificate - see below for more on this. You can also read our Cheap Medicines guide for more ways to save on prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.

Many can save with a prescription prepayment 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. As an example: 

  • If you'll pay for four prescriptions in a three-month period, a prepay certificate would save you £6.95 (or £7.15 after the increase).
  • If you get 13 prescriptions over the course of a year, a 12-month prepay certificate would save you £13.05 (or £13.55 after the increase) – and if you need more, you'll save more.

You can buy a prepayment certificate online, at a registered pharmacy or by calling 0300 330 1341 – see our Cheap Medicines guide for the full info.

Nothing changes in the rest of the UK - prescriptions are still free

The above changes only apply to prescription charges in England.

Prescriptions are free for all in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What does the Government say?

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Nearly 90% of prescription items are dispensed free of charge in community pharmacies in England and existing exemptions are in place covering children, pregnant women, and those over 60, on a low income or with medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy and diabetes.

“Patients with long-term conditions or on a low income can apply for a range of prescription charge exemptions or additional support through the NHS Low Income scheme.”

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