Charges for NHS prescriptions and NHS dental care in England will rise from 1 April, the Government has announced – so if you've been meaning to go to the dentist, see if you can book in before then to avoid paying extra.
NHS prescriptions in England currently cost a flat fee of £8.40, but this will rise to £8.60 next month. But the charge for a prepayment certificate – effectively a prescription season ticket which covers all your prescriptions for a set period – isn't going up.
Here's how NHS dental charges are changing (the price you pay is determined by the date of the check-up or procedure, not the date you book or pay):
Band one charges – which cover basic care including check-ups, X-rays and moulds of your teeth – are increasing by 90p, from £19.70 to £20.60.
Band two charges – which cover procedures such as root canals, fillings and removing teeth – will cost £2.40 more, rising from £53.90 to £56.30.
Band three charges – which cover more complicated treatments such as veneers, crowns and dentures – will cost £10.60 more, rising from £233.70 to £244.30.
The changes announced this week only affect NHS patients in England – see our Cheap Medicines guide for more info. Prescriptions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are free, while dental charges are set separately by the devolved administrations and will change as follows:
- Wales – from 1 April band one charges will increase from £13.50 to £14, band two from £43 to £44 and band three charges from £185 to £195.
- Scotland – no increases to dental charges are planned.
- Northern Ireland – a decision on whether or not to increase dental charges will be made following the appointment of the new Minister of Health for Northern Ireland.
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Philip Dunne, Minister of State at the Department of Health in Westminster, said: "To ensure that those with the greatest need, including patients with long-term conditions, are protected, we have frozen the cost of the prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) for another year.
"The three-month PPC remains at £29.10 and the cost of the annual PPC will stay at £104, allowing unlimited prescriptions within a specified time period.
"Taken together, this means prescription charges are expected to rise broadly in line with inflation."
Additional reporting by the Press Association.