MSE News

NHS prescription costs in England to rise from May – check if you can save now

The NHS prescription charge in England will increase by 25p to £9.90 an item from Wednesday 1 May, the Government has confirmed. The cost of prepayment certificates, which give you unlimited prescriptions for either three months or a year, will also rise – so if you regularly pay for prescriptions, check if you can save by buying a certificate now.

Prescription charges will increase by around 3% – here's what's happening:

NHS prescription costs rising in England

Prescription type Current cost Cost from 1 May 2024
Single item £9.65 £9.90 (up 25p)
Three-month prepayment certificate £31.25 £32.05 (up 80p)
12-month prepayment certificate £111.60 £114.50 (up £2.90)
12-month hormone replacement therapy (HRT) certificate £19.30 £19.80 (up 50p)

The cost of fabric supports (such as surgical bras) and wigs is also increasing – for the full list of changes, see Gov.uk.

See our Cheap and free prescriptions guide for tips on cutting the cost of medicine. Prescriptions remain free of charge for those in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Almost one million people who get prescriptions regularly could save with a 'season ticket' – check now before prices go up

Earlier this year, we revealed that almost one million people missed out on around £42 each in the 12 months leading up to April 2023 because they didn't buy a prescription 'season ticket'.

As MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis said at the time:

MSE founder Martin Lewis

"We need to spread the word to anyone in England who regularly gets prescriptions – including some with chronic illnesses – to check out prepayment certificates.

"My simple rule of thumb is if you get more than one prescription a month on average, a prepayment certificate is the cheapest option as it caps what you pay. They give you unlimited prescriptions for either three months or a year. For someone using an average of two prescriptions a month, it'd be a £120 saving and it'd reduce the worry if you needed more, as you wouldn't have to shell out more."

You can buy a season ticket online, over the phone on 0300 330 1341, or at many pharmacies. It can be paid for by card or by direct debit. And if you've paid for prescriptions while waiting for your season ticket to arrive, you can use an NHS FP57 refund form (ask the pharmacy or dispensary which dispenses your prescription for one) to get your money back.

Can you get prescriptions for free?

Before paying for a prescription, or buying a prescription season ticket, it's always worth checking first if you qualify for an exemption and can avoid paying entirely. The NHS has an online 'Do I get free prescriptions?' tool where you can check your eligibility.

More people qualify for free prescriptions than you might think – not just those on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits. For example, those:

  • Aged under 16.
  • Aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education.
  • Aged 60 and over.
  • Who are pregnant or who have had a baby in the past 12 months (provided you have a valid maternity exemption certificate).

Also, be aware that if you're prescribed medication, such as painkillers or dermatology creams that are also available over the counter, often it's cheaper to buy them that way rather than buying them via a prescription.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!