Do You Have To Pay for Prescriptions? How Prescriptions Work?

In the UK, many residents are familiar with having to pay for prescriptions when they visit a doctor, but the rules surrounding it can be a bit complicated, to say the least!

As of 2023, the rules for prepayment prescriptions and medical certificates have been updated, so here, you will be given a crash course on how NHS payment for prescriptions works!


Who Has To Pay for NHS Prescriptions?

Do you have to pay for prescriptions? In England, the majority of working-age adults have to pay for their prescriptions. 

In 2023, the current prescription charge is £9.65 per item. However, there are certain groups of people who may be exempt from paying for prescription costs

If you live in Wales or Scotland, you will be eligible for free NHS prescriptions. You are also entitled to free prescriptions if you live in  Northern Ireland. Also, if you are aged 16, 17, or 18 in England or are in full-time education, you will also be entitled to free NHS prescriptions. If you are currently pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months, you are also eligible for free NHS prescriptions, but you will need to hold a maternity exemption certificate. 

Please note that if you have a certain medical condition, you may be entitled to free NHS prescriptions and will be awarded a medical exemption certificate. In addition, hospital inpatients do not have to pay prescription charges for any medication they receive while they are in the hospital.

However, if you don’t meet these exemptions, there are some ways that you can reduce health costs in England.


NHS Prepayment Certificates (PPCs)

If you have multiple items on your monthly prescription, you can get a reduction in your NHS prescription charges when you apply for a prescription prepayment certificate, PPC.

In the NHS, there are two types of prescription prepayment certificates available. 

There is a three or 12-month NHS Prescription Prepayment certificate or PPC, which will cover all of the NHS prescriptions that you get in this period. This can help people who have complex medical conditions, which may require them to pay a lot of money for medication. At the time of writing in 2023, the NHS PPC is £11.16. 


NHS Hormone Replacement Therapy Prescription Prepayment Certificate (HRT PPC)

There is also the option for people who are receiving hormone replacement therapy or HRT to have a prepayment certificate solely for the purpose of paying for this medication. You will only be eligible for this if an NHS GP puts you onto one of the hormone replacement therapy options that are covered, such as Bedol and Elleste. 

You should also note that as of August 2024, some of the medications that were previously covered by the HRT PPC will no longer be covered, as the medications are set to be discontinued. 

You can check online whether the HRT you take falls into this category by looking on the NHS website or, alternatively, you can Contact Us for more information.

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