Prescription costs will be frozen by the NHS to help ease the rising cost of living across the UK, saving £17 million overall for patients
For the first time in 12 years, NHS prescription costs will be frozen to help people with the cost of living in the UK. This comes at the same time as a government NHS investment plan to tackle the COVID-19 backlog and reduce waiting times also.
With immense COVID backlogs and GP waiting times, the NHS has been put under significant pressure since 2020. Now, with inflation at an all time high, people are no longer able to afford their prescription costs for their medication either.
As charges generally increase in line with average inflation, the cost for prescriptions will remain the same to help ease the cost-of-living pressures and ensure prescription medication remains accessible.
What are the changes to the cost of NHS prescriptions?
So, charges for prescriptions will remain at £9.35 for a single charge or £30.25 for a 3-month prescription prepayment certificate (PPC).
12-month PPCs will remain at £108.10 and can be paid for in instalments, meaning people can get all the medicines they need for just over £2 a week.
The prescription freeze will also apply to NHS wigs and fabric supports, where these prices will remain at current levels:
- surgical bra £30.70
- abdominal or spinal support £46.30
- stock modacrylic wig £75.70
- partial human hair wig £200.50
- full bespoke human hair wig £293.20
The NHS low-income scheme and COVID recovery
The NHS low-income scheme offers help to those with prescription payments, with free prescriptions for eligible people in certain groups such as pensioners, students, and those who receive state benefits or live in care homes.
Additionally, the government and NHS have also made efforts to tackle the COVID-19 backlogs while reforming routine care services – ending long waits and improving patient care.
The pandemic has put huge pressure on health and care services and over the next 3 years, a record £39 billion will be invested through the Health and Care Levy, so the NHS has the funding it needs.
From here, the Health and Care Bill will enact the legislation for a health and care agenda, setting up systems and structures to reform how health and adult social care work together, tackle long waiting lists built up during the pandemic, and address some of the long-term challenges faced by the country including a growing and ageing population, chronic conditions, and inequalities in health outcomes.
What other exemptions apply to the NHS?
You are exempt from charges if you:
- are 60 or over
- are under 16
- are 16 to 18 and in full-time education
- are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
- have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
- have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
- hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
- are an NHS inpatient
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The rise in the cost of living has been unavoidable as we face global challenges and the repercussions of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine. While we cannot completely prevent these rises, where we can help, we absolutely will.
“This is why I am freezing prescription charges to help ease some of these pressures and put money back in people’s pockets.”
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