When Do You Have To Start Paying for Prescriptions?

The NHS in the UK makes most medical care free. That doesn’t include absolutely everything, though. While you don’t have to pay to book an appointment with your NHS GP, you still have to pay for things like dentistry, sight tests, and prescriptions. 

The good news is that there are certain exemptions in some cases, particularly when it comes to paying for prescriptions. The question is, when do you have to start paying for prescriptions, and which circumstances make you exempt?


How Much Are Prescription Charges?

Right now, prescriptions are £9.65 per item. However, this charge typically increases every April, so you might find that it’s slightly more. 

Certain prescription items are free no matter what. For example, medications prescribed to inpatients at a hospital come with no cost, as do contraception prescriptions. 


When You Don’t Have to Pay for Prescriptions

Understanding when you have to pay for a prescription helps to know when you don’t. If you fall under any of the following categories, you are exempt from paying. 


You are Under 16 or Over 60

When it comes to prescription charge exemptions, age plays a significant role. If you are either under the age of 16 or over 60, you do not have to pay for a prescription. 


You Are Between 16-18 and in Full-Time Education

If you are between the ages of 16 and 18 and are in full-time education, such as college, you are able to receive an exemption from paying for prescriptions. 


You Have a Certain Medication Condition

Specific medical conditions allow you to apply for a medical exemption certificate, so you won’t have to pay for any prescriptions. You can get your medical exemption certificate from your GP, and you and your GP must fill out the form. 


You Are Pregnant or Have Recently Had a Baby

There is such a thing as a maternity exemption certificate for expecting mothers and mothers who have had their child within the last 12 months. With this certificate, you can access free prescriptions. It also includes free dental care. You’ll need to seek out a form from your GP, midwife, or doctor to get a maternity exemption certificate.


You Have a War Pension Exemption Certificate

If you have serviced in the armed forces and are under the age of 60, you can get a war pension exemption certificate, which allows you to get prescriptions without the charges. 


You Are On Low Income

If you have a low income, there is the NHS low income scheme, which covers medical costs, including prescriptions, eye care, and dentistry. To gain access to this scheme, you’ll need to have under £16,000 in savings (unless you live in a care home – in this case, your savings must be under £23,250). Depending on your income and overall circumstances, you may be entitled to fully free NHS prescriptions or partial coverage. 


When You Do Have to Pay for Prescriptions

You do have to pay for prescriptions if any of the above does not apply to you. If you are a healthy adult who is not pregnant and has a higher-than-low income, you will likely need to pay for your prescriptions. 


Any Questions?

If you have any prescriptions about your NHS prescriptions or wish to set up online healthcare, feel free to contact us here at NHS GP Pathfinder Clinics. We are more than happy to assist you in any way.

Do you want to view your medical records? You might wish to do so for any number of reasons. That doesn’t truly matter, though – you have the legal right to access your medical record and information at any time, and you don’t need to present a reason for this.


When Might You Need To See Your Medical Records?

Seeing your medical records means you feel more in control of yourself and your overall health. You can look back and see every ailment you have had and any prescriptions you may have taken over the years. You’ll also be able to see which vaccinations you have been given. 

If you’re experiencing a medical issue, looking at your medical history may help you understand it better. Or, you may be completely healthy but would like to see your health record simply because you’re curious and want to know as much about your health as possible. All are valid reasons.


What Does a Medical Record Show?

Your medical record will show things like prescriptions given, vaccinations, allergies, test results, GP notes, conditions, and hospital letters.  


How To See Your Medical Records

There are several ways to access your medical records: through the NHS app, online, or by requesting your medical records in writing. Generally, accessing them through the NHS app is the easiest way to get a copy of your health record, but you can still use the other methods. 


Through the NHS App

To access your medical record through the NHS app, download the free NHS app and connect it to your GP surgery. Once you do this, you’ll be able to easily find your record on the app, which will show you things like test results and hospital letters. 



You can also find your health record by logging into the NHS website online if you are over 16. You’ll need an account to do this and to prove your identity. If you’re unsure about setting this up or don’t know your login details, speak to your GP. 


Getting a Written Copy

To request your health record in writing, you’ll need to write a formal letter or email to your GP with the request. This may be useful if you’re not used to online technology, don’t have internet access, or simply prefer hard records. Your NHS GP should respond to your request promptly, but they may ask more questions, such as exactly what information you’re looking for. 


Can You Access Someone Else’s Medical Records?

There may be some instances in which you need to access the health records of a family member in order to make health care decisions. For example, parents or guardians may need access to their child’s health record, or an adult may wish to access their elderly parent’s health information to help find them care. In some cases, a medical power of attorney may need to access them for their client. 


Your Health Records Are Yours

Accessing your health records shouldn’t be difficult – you have the legal right to access them at any time. If you’re struggling with gaining access to your records or want to sign up for online services, contact us today. We are happy to make the process as easy as possible for you.

When you are in the UK, if you have more than one medication on a repeat prescription, then you could be spending a fortune unnecessarily every time you need to get your medications refilled.

For people who need to save money on medication costs via the NHS, you can apply for a prescription prepayment certificate, which will set the monthly costs you need to pay. Great!

So, how do you apply for one? Read on to find out!


Applying for A PPC

The answer to ‘how to apply for a prescription prepayment certificate?’ is simpler than you may think. 

You can buy a PPC online or via the NHS website, or you can apply for one in person at a set pharmacy. This means that anytime you see an NHS GP and they prescribe you a medication or set of medications, you won’t pay the prescription charges per item. 

It may only be suitable to apply for an NHS PPC if you are on long-term medications, thereby saving you money long-term on your repeat prescriptions. If you have multiple prescriptions for the treatment of a short-term illness, such as bronchitis, then you may not save money paying for a PPC monthly. 


Digital PPCs

As the NHS is eager to reduce paper usage, it is possible when you buy an NHS prepayment certificate to have the certificate sent to your email address. This will ensure that you have the certificate on-hand and will (hopefully) prevent your from losing it!


PPC Validity

When you apply for a prepaid prescription certificate via the NHS website or via a pharmacy, it is usually valid for 12 months from the date it is started. You can either pay for it monthly or in a lump sum when you apply for it. If you incorrectly use your NHS PPC after it has become invalid, you may be liable to pay a fine. This is usually four times the amount of the payment made for the PPC. For instance, if you pay £11.18 for a PPC each month, you may need to pay up to £45 as a penalty if you incorrectly use the certificate. So, make sure you renew prepayment certificates every 12 months!


PPC vs Medical Exemption Certificate

You may be wondering what the difference is between a PPC and a medical exemption certificate.

With a PPC, you need to pay a set monthly fee, or pay a lump sum. With a medical exemption certificate, you are entitled to free NHS prescriptions, as well as help with other medical costs. It should be noted that a medical exemption certificate does not cover dental costs. 

In order to apply for a medical exemption certificate, your doctor or other health professional will need to fill out a FP92a application form. Alternatively, you can contact your GP and ask for a Medical Exemption (EC92A) form but, your GP will need to verify that you have a medical condition which is eligible for medical exemption. Some of these conditions include Addison’s disease and illnesses that require an individual to have a permanent fistula, which needs to be dressed regularly. 

If you aren’t sure which certificate is right for you, contact us here for more information.


Many women in the UK who have reached menopause age may be prescribed hormone replacement therapies or HRT. This is often to prevent the health issues that can occur in women of a certain age, such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and forgetfulness. 

In the UK, the NHS offers a prepayment certificate to women who are taking HRT, and here, you will be walked through how to apply for such a certificate, how to renew it, and which medications it is suited for. 


Applying for an Hrt Prepayment Certificate

Is there any difference between how to apply for an HRT prepayment certificate and a standard pre-payment certificate?

In order to get an NHS HRT prepayment certificate, you need to have been prescribed hormone replacement therapy by an NHS GP. Ideally, this HRT prescription will be needed at least three times in 12 months, so, opting to apply for HRT PPC will help you save on prescriptions costs. 

You can apply for a hormone replacement prescription online, via the NHS app, or in-person at selected pharmacies. A hormone replacement therapy prepayment certificate covers an unlimited number of certain HRT medications for 12 months, irrespective of how many times they are needed or why they are required.


Cost Benefits of Using an HRT Prepayment Certificate

You may be wondering about the cost benefits of applying for an HRT certificate. After all, how much is it to pay for HRT alone, and how much is a prescription for HRT medication?

It is no higher than standard medications. When it comes to NHS prescription costs, the stand-alone fee for one medication is £9.65, as it would be if you were prescribed a single HRT medication per month. However, if you opt to purchase a HRT prepayment certificate, you will pay a one-off payment of £19.30. That covers an entire year of HRT medication, leading to significant savings

So, start your HRT PPC application today! If you have any issues with the application form, contact us here for assistance or more information.


Medications Covered by HRT Certificates

At the time of writing, an HRT PPC covers over 40 different HRT medications, which can be prescribed in gel, pessary, patches, and tablet form. 

Some of the medications that the HRT PPC covers include Estradiol, Estriol, Elleste Duet, Estring, and Evorel. If you aren’t sure if a HRT PPC certificate covers the medication your doctor has prescribed, then please enquire with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.


Rules About HRT PPC’s

You will need to ensure that you update your HRT PPC every 12 months, or you may be claiming with the certificate without it being valid. This may lead to a fine.

If your situation changes in relation to your need for HRT medication, you cannot get a refund for the money spent on the HRT PPC. You will also need to make sure that your address and the name on the HRT PPC are valid and up to date, or you may also face a fine.


Some people don’t like their medical records being shared. They contain personal details including information about their physical or mental health, and they may like the thought of this being accessed by other people. If this describes you, then you might be wondering if your GP records are accessible to other healthcare professionals. 

If you are concerned that hospitals and other healthcare professionals can access your GP medical record, there’s no need to worry. These health records are not available for others to view. 

Of course, medical professionals may need to know key information pertaining to your health. This is available to them through a “summary care record”. This care record, produced by your GP practice automatically from the start of your first visit, gives a brief overview of key health details. This can assist a hospital with administering the right care and medicine if you’re admitted. 


What Data Is Recorded as Part of a GP Record?

You might be curious about what your GP record includes. This record covers details such as your test results, vaccines, and medicines. Furthermore, it will cover communications from your GP between other services. This can include hospital discharge summaries and referral letters. 


Accessing Your GP Records

If you would like to take a look at your GP records, it is possible to view a summary of this online through the official NHS app. This NHS digital approach is the easiest way to gain access, although there are other methods available. 

One is to ask your GP directly. This can be done in person, over the phone, or via a video consultation if you are with NHS GP. You will need to request information about which your GP uses an online service provider. Note that this information could be available on the website of your GP surgery. Then it’s a case of telling them you would like to sign up for their online services, completing the registration, and gaining access to your details. 

You can also, in writing, formally request these medical records. This might be your option if you don’t want to use online services and want physical copies of your records.  

Regardless of which option you choose, General Data Protection Regulation ensures you don’t have to pay a penny to access your medical records. 


GP Records for Someone That’s Deceased.

What if you’re not accessing your own GP records, but those recorded for someone who has died? NHS England passes the records for the deceased to Primary Care Support England (PCSE).

If you are allowed to access these files – say you are the deceased’s executor of their estate – you will have to first get in touch with the deceased’s last registered GP. They will be able to help with gaining approved requests from the PCSE for records of the deceased. 

If you would like any further information about GP records, who has access to them, and more, feel free to contact us


Cervical screening, often known as a smear test or cervical screening test, is an essential part of any woman’s healthcare, and it’s an important measure that can help protect women and prevent cervical cancer. In the UK, women are recommended to undergo regular PAP testing at age 25 and older as part of their routine healthcare regime of regular testing and GP appointments. 


The procedure involves the use of a smooth tube-shaped tool, a speculum, which, although it might look unpleasant and even frightening, is designed especially to be as painless as possible. By following the instructions your GP or nurse gives you, the cervical screening, a small procedure, will be over in a matter of seconds for most people. 


The Right Position

In order for the test to be carried out, you’ll need to lie down on an exam table with your legs bent, feet together. Put the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall to each side, and your doctor or nurse will be able to perform the test more easily. 

Once you’re in position, the healthcare professional will put the speculum into your vagina using a small amount of lubricant – this is done to carefully push the vaginal walls to the side so that the doctor or nurse can get to the cervix, which is what they need to take cells from. When they gently put a smooth tube inside, it makes access much easier. 


Taking the Sample

The cervical screening (smear test) is designed so that cells can be taken from the cervix and sent off for testing to determine whether or not there are abnormalities in the cells (which might indicate cervical cancer). 

Once the speculum is in place, a soft brush or spatula is used to gently put a sample of cells from your cervix into a sample collection tube; this is a crucial step because the cells will be sent off to a lab for testing to see if there are any signs of cervical cancer or the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can lead to cervical cancer. 


Abnormal Cells

Finding out if you have any abnormal cells isn’t something to put off or ignore – knowing is far better than not knowing, even if it’s a frightening prospect because treatment can be started if something is found, making it much more likely that you’ll have a positive outcome. 

As mentioned above, high-risk HPV strains are known to be a major cause of cervical cancer, which is why regular screenings are so vital for women, especially any who might be at high risk of developing the condition because of their age, sexual activity, or family history. 


After the Test

Once your expert NHS GP has taken the small sample of cells they need for the PAP test, the speculum is gently removed, and the doctor will leave you to get dressed

The collected sample from the cervical screening, a smear, will be labelled and then sent off to a lab for cervical screening a small sample, where experts can see if the cells have any signs of infection or any abnormalities. 


Get in Touch Today

If you feel you want to have cervical cancer screening tests for your peace of mind or because you’re concerned about your health, please don’t hesitate to contact us to book your appointment. Our experts are on hand to ensure your health is taken seriously. 

Need a repeat prescription but are not sure how to get one? Find out everything there is to know about how and where to get a repeat prescription in the UK. Plus, discover what to do if you lose your repeat prescription. 


How To Get a Repeat Prescription Without Going to the Doctor

You can get a repeat prescription without going to the doctor. There are several ways that you can request a repeat prescription without having to go to your GP surgery in person, including: 


  • Order via the NHS App

One of the simplest ways to request repeat medications is via the NHS app or the NHS website. If you do not have an NHS account, you can easily create one via the website. 

If you are asked to nominate a pharmacy, you must choose a high street one. Select continue on this, and it should process the order. When ready, you can collect your prescription in person, or some pharmacies may offer a delivery service. 


  • Order via Other Online Services

If you do not want to use the NHS app, there are other online services and apps that you can use to place your repeat prescription orders. These services can be linked to your NHS GP so that any repeat prescriptions will be automatically highlighted on your account and so that they can check your GP medical record

It is worth noting that some of these services are free of charge, whereas others will charge to deliver your medication directly to your door. 


Can a Chemist Give You a Repeat Prescription?

Yes, you can get a repeat prescription directly from a chemist. As long as the medication in question has already been approved by a doctor, you can simply choose a pharmacy and collect your medication as and when you need it. 

Depending on the medication you take, you may be required to go to your doctor’s office for check-ups to see how you are responding to the treatment and to check that it is not interfering with any other medication you are taking. If you are taking the oral contraceptive pill, you will need to give a blood pressure reading once every 6 months. 


How Long Does It Take To Get a Repeat Prescription?

It usually takes around 2 working days for a repeat prescription request to be processed by your GP surgery, as each prescription needs to be approved by a doctor. Once a prescription has been authorised, it is then sent to the pharmacy to be dispensed. Depending on whether or not they have the medication in stock, this can take between 2-5 days. 

If you require a repeat prescription urgently, visit our contact us page, so our team can help you through the process. We may be able to fast-track the process. 


Are Repeat Prescriptions Free?

If you are entitled to free prescriptions, then you do not have to pay for a repeat prescription. In the UK, contraceptives such as birth control pills are free of charge on the NHS to people of all ages. 

If you are not entitled to free prescriptions, then you will have to pay the £9.65 prescription charge. However, if you require frequent prescriptions regularly, it may work out cheaper for you to purchase a prescription payment certificate (PPC). 


What Do I Do if I Lose My Repeat Prescription?

As most GP surgeries now issue electronic prescriptions, you do not need to worry about your repeat prescription getting lost. However, if you have been issued paper prescriptions from your GP and they become lost, your local surgery should be able to print you out a new copy. 

Do you struggle to get face-to-face appointments with your GP? Since the COVID-19 pandemic, which made online GP appointments much more commonplace, many people have expressed their concern about not being able to see a doctor in person. 

In fact, last year, figures showed that only two-thirds of GP appointments are carried out in person, compared to an estimated 80% before the pandemic.

Find out the latest laws and guidelines relating to face-to-face GP appointments below and make sure you are getting the care you are entitled to. 


Why Is It So Difficult To Get a Face-to-Face GP Appointment?

Although the initial switch to remote consulting was predominantly to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to ensure patients are safe, this is not the main reason why GP practices are continuing to offer remote consulting. 

A combination of huge volumes of patients and limited daily appointment slots has made it almost impossible for surgeries to accommodate face-to-face appointments for everyone. 


Do I Have a Right to a Face-to-Face Appointment With My GP?

According to new NHS guidance, practices in England must offer face-to-face appointments if requested. GPs who fail to make the necessary arrangements for patients to make an appointment without having to spend hours on the phone or who are not available for face-to-face appointments are, in the strictest terms, breaking the law.  

You can find out more information about how many appointments your GP surgery is delivering and how many are face-to-face compared to how many take place remotely by accessing the GP appointment level data at practice level. This is information that has been collected for the past 5 years by NHS Digital. 


What Is the Best Way To Get a GP Appointment?

Rather than spending hours on the phone trying to get through to the reception at your local GP surgery, it is much quicker and easier to use an online form. Some practices have them available on your GP surgery’s website, or you may be able to access them via the NHS app

Although there are quite a few questions to answer on these forms, this is generally a much faster way to access the GP services that you need rather than booking an appointment over the phone. These online forms are secure and confidential and can be used to contact your general practice about your own health or someone else’s – your loved ones in care homes needing health care services don’t need to add the stress of using online methods like this on top of their health conditions, so take care of this for them. If you or your loved one don’t mind having an online appointment, this is generally much quicker to get sorted, and you can easily get one with NHS GP clinics. If you need help booking an online appointment with your GP, please contact us here, and we will do our best to help you get the healthcare advice you need. 


What Are the New Rules for GP Appointments?

A new NHS contract that came into force in April 2023 means that GP staff have to let patients book consultations in advance or refer them to other services, such as a pharmacist, rather than tell them to call back later or the next day. Practices across England will be given £240 million this year to pay for new technologies that are designed to ensure patients get given the care they need as quickly as possible. 

Currently, guidelines state that if a patient requires emergency care, they should be given an appointment on the same day. If it is not, appointments, either face-to-face or via a video call, should be offered within 2 weeks. Alternatively, patients should be referred to NHS 111 or a local pharmacy. 


What Do You Say When Booking a GP Appointment?

When booking a GP appointment, your surgery will ask you for personal details such as your name, address, and date of birth. They should also ask you about your preferred mode of appointment, such as a telephone or video call or a face-to-face appointment. They may also ask you what the appointment is for, but you are not required to give out this information if you do not want to. 

Picking up your medication has become so much easier than in the past. Today you don’t even need to go to the pharmacy at all. You can switch from paper prescriptions to electronic ones and then have your local high street pharmacy, or even a digital-only pharmacy, fulfil your prescription. This means you can now have your medication ready for pickup from your closest pharmacy or have it sent directly to your home. 


We are all about simplifying the healthcare process here at NHS GP, which is why we’ve put together this guide on how to check if your medication is in stock and also how to finally get it delivered to your door if you wish. 


How To Get Repeat Prescriptions Online

Think that you can only request a refill on your repeat prescription in person? Think again. All you need is to download the NHS app. This app gets you in touch with your GP and makes it quick and easy to request electronic prescriptions. This written notice is then sent to your GP, who signs off on it. Once it’s refilled, many providers will even deliver to your home so you can skip the trip to your local pharmacy and instead get your repeat refills in a timely manner. 


Tip: Keep in mind that if you order your repeat subscriptions online, you’ll need to visit your GP at least once per year. This is to make sure that there aren’t any unwelcome side effects. 


How To Check if Your Prescription Is in Stock at Your Local Pharmacy

If you do want to physically go in to collect your medicines (either because you don’t have time to wait, have paper prescriptions, or want to discuss your medication with the pharmacist), there are a few ways that you can check if your medication is in stock. 


Contacting Your Pharmacy Directly

One of the easiest and best ways is to contact your pharmacy directly. To do this, simply find a pharmacy on Google Maps. Make sure the pharmacy in question is the one you’ve chosen as your preferred option, and use the contact information online to get in touch. You can send them an email or call them directly to see what medication they have in stock, and you should be able to collect this the same day. For repeat prescriptions, they may take a little longer, particularly if it isn’t your normal pharmacy.  


This can be the fastest way to get the medication that you need if you have a paper prescription from another doctor and are visiting your current area. 


Get in Touch With Your GP

If you desperately need medical help and can’t get your prescription in time, then contact us to book an emergency video appointment. We can help you manage your condition and even work to find where your medication is in stock so that you can get the relief that you need. You won’t be left feeling alone in this situation.

Are you planning to go to hospital? While it’s not something that anyone looks forward to, it is sometimes a necessity. Yet, if you have never been through the process of a hospital admission before, or it has been a while since you last spent time in a hospital, you might be wondering how the process works. This includes wondering if your GP is able to admit you into the hospital. Let’s answer that question for you. 


Can Your GP Admit You to Hospital?

In short, yes, your GP is able to admit you to hospital. In fact, GP approval is often recommended if you are planning a stay in hospital. Whether it is from the doctor at your GP surgery, even if you use a service like NHS GP or another health specialist, they can arrange your hospital stay. That includes booking your appointment and getting an admission letter sent your way. 

This admission letter is important for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it supplies you with specific instructions to follow – including the date and time, details about what department to visit, and information about how to prepare for your stay – that helps to clear up any possible confusion. 

However, GP approval or consultation is unnecessary for hospital admission. There are certain situations where this is bypassed entirely.  


Being Admitted to Hospital Without GP Approval

A consultant-led hospital admission is arguably the most beneficial. This helps to reduce waiting time as you have a scheduled time and date for your hospital visit. Yet sometimes, it’s not possible to have the luxury of forward planning. 

For example, you may be unable to go to the GP beforehand if you are suffering from an emergency health predicament. If you suddenly become unwell, an ambulance could be called to take you directly to the hospital for treatment. 

Sometimes assistance isn’t required. You might decide to admit yourself to a hospital if you feel ill or are seriously injured. This is typically the case if you feel it’s an issue that cannot wait and requires urgent attention from a medical professional. 

Another scenario is if a person is admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act. Understandably, when this action is taken, it doesn’t require GP approval beforehand. 


Preparing for Your Hospital Visit

Depending on whether you have completed a pre-admission assessment, or if certain details are provided in your admission letter, specific advice such as not eating over a specific period, may have to be followed. There are other tips to keep in mind. This includes bringing some money to purchase snacks or drinks and any personal details changes – like a new GP, for instance. 

Once you have arrived, you will have to meet with hospital staff and complete an admission form. This includes supplying  your personal details and those of your emergency contact.

If you need any further clarification, feel free to contact us. We will be able to answer any questions you might have about hospital admissions, the role a GP can play, and more.