Prescription charge set to increase to £9.15 next month
The charge for a single NHS prescription will increase by 15p – from £9 to £9.15 – from April 1, the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) announced today (March 3).
The charge for a three-month prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) will increase by 55p, from £29.10 to £29.65.
The cost of a twelve-month PPC will increase by £1.90, from £104 to £105.90.
This increase in cost is “in line with inflation”, the DH has said.
DH: Increase only affects a minority of patients
When asked by C+D how the DH arrived at the increase, the department reiterated that it is “in line with inflation” and added that “nearly 90% of prescription items are dispensed free of charge in community pharmacies in England”.
Patients who are exempt from paying for prescriptions, including pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions – such as epilepsy and cancer – or people over 60 will remain exempt from the charge.
Individuals 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,” the DH added.
NPA: Charges deter patients
National Pharmacy Association (NPA) head of corporate affairs Gareth Jones said prescription charges “deter many people from getting the medicines they are prescribed”.
This is “troubling” for pharmacy professionals, as they understand the danger of not taking medicines “as prescribed”, he said.
The administrative burden that prescription charges involve is “counterproductive to the government’s aim in getting pharmacists to spend more time on clinical services”, Mr Jones added.
The full list of changes can be viewed on the government website.