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Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions

Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).

The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.


NHS prescription charge increase from 1 April 2016 – England only

NHS charges

These charges apply in England only. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales prescriptions are free of charge.

  • We have increased the prescription charge by 20 pence from £8.20 to £8.40 for each medicine or appliance dispensed. 90% of prescription items are dispensed free, and this will remain the case. To ensure that those with the greatest need, and who are not already exempt from the charge, are protected we have frozen the cost of the prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) for another year.
  • The 3 month PPC remains at £29.10 and the cost of the annual PPC will stay at £104. Taken together, this means prescription charge income is expected to rise broadly in line with inflation.

If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than 15 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC.

There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website

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