Prescription charge increasePrescription charge to rise by 15p

14 March 2006

The cost of an NHS prescription in England is set to rise by 15p to GBP 6.65 from the start of April, the Department of Health (DoH) has announced.

The cost of a prescription pre-payment certificate will increase by 75p to GBP 34.65 for four months. A year's certificate will go up by GBP 2.10 to GBP 95.30. Prescription prepayment certificates are used by people with chronic illnesses who need more than five items in four months or more than 14 items in 12 months.

The government says the prescription charge is rising in line with inflation and will help maintain the contribution that charges make towards the NHS. Prescription charges are expected to raise GBP 430 million for the NHS during the next financial year.

Most prescriptions are dispensed free to people who are exempt from charges. Around half the population is exempt. A DoH leaflet gives the full list of those who qualify, but they include:

  • men and women aged 60 and over
  • children aged under 16
  • young people aged 16, 17 and 18 who are in full-time education
  • pregnant women and women who have had a child in the previous 12 months and who hold a valid exemption certificate
  • people who hold a valid exemption certificate for war disability but only for medication for that disability
  • people suffering from certain medical conditions such as some forms of diabetes, and who hold a valid exemption certificate
  • certain people or their partners who get Income Support, or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance tax credits.