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No Uplift in NHS Prescription Charge in April 2022
This is whilst further consideration is given by the Government to the future of prescription charges.
Mar 2022
No uplift to NHS prescription charges in April 2022

No change to prescription charge in april

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that the NHS prescription charge will not be uplifted on 1 April 2022.

The NHS prescription charge is reviewed annually with changes usually made in April, but this year the Government has yet to conclude consideration of any future increases to prescription charges. The charges will therefore not be uplifted on 1 April 2022 while further consideration is given.

In summary:

  • For prescriptions dispensed in April 2022, NHS prescription charges will remain at £9.35 per item.
  • The cost of Prescription Pre-payment Certificates (PPCs) will also remain unchanged for April 2022.
  • A decision is yet to be reached on prescription charges and the cost of PPCs from May 2022 onwards.
Consultation on changing prescription charge exemption age

Any prescription charge increases have not yet been made for 2022 likely due to the ongoing consultation on 'Aligning the upper age for NHS prescription charge exemptions with the State Pension age'. This could result in people paying for their prescriptions (or a pre-payment certificate) for longer, until they can access their state pension. 

The Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England, our pharmacists' professional membership body, states:

"The proposal to raise the age at which people can access free prescriptions from 60 to 66 means that many more people will be affected by this tax on the sick at exactly the time at which they may be needing more medicines.

“It is unacceptable to raise the cost of prescriptions in the current economic situation when many have been disadvantaged by the pandemic. Such proposals will only further drive the health inequalities that have been highlighted by Covid-19".

Further information on any NHS prescription charge changes will be published as soon as we know of them. You can read more on the Government consultation following the link below.

Government Consultation: Aligning the upper age for NHS prescription charge exemptions with the State Pension age 

Charges Explained

Where does the prescription charge go?

Contrary to what some people may believe, pharmacies do not keep the NHS Prescription Charge that is paid to them. We charge the stiuplated £9.35 per item on behalf of the NHS, which is then taken from us every month. This money is then re-invested into the NHS, raising funds that can be spent on ensuring the continued provision of NHS services, or on new schemes or operations.

The charge is fixed at a pre-determined price every year; it is not dependent on the cost of your medicines. For example, many prescription items actually cost more than the £9.35 fee you have to pay to contribute to the NHS  but you are still charged the same, fixed rate regardless.

Why do I have to pay more than one charge?

If you receive multiple medicines at once, you will be charged the prescription charge on each medicine you receive. There are exceptions to this  for example if you receive two strengths of the same drug, then you only have to pay one prescription charge for both of the items. 

In other circumstances, you may have to pay multiple charges for one prescription item  for example Hormone Replacement Therapy. This is because there will be multiple active drugs in the prescription item, and you are charged for each of these. It is often the case that these products are also more expensive to source, so this will help cover the cost of this.

Exemptions Explained

Having a valid exemption means you don't have to pay for any prescriptions you receive. There are many different exemptions, but common ones include:

  • Under 16 Years of Age
  • Aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
  • Over 60 Years of Age
  • Maternity Exemption Certificate
  • Medical Exemption Certificate
  • Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC) (See below)

You can find some useful links to check whether you have an exemption, and see if you are eligible for any exemptions below.

Who can get free prescriptions? →

Check if I have an exemption →

Prescription Pre-Payment Certificates

You can save money on prescription payments with a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC). Pre-payment certificates offer savings for those needing four or more prescription items in three months, or 12 or more items in a year.

How much you can save:

Purchasing a Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate

You can purchase a prescription pre-payment certificate at any registered pharmacy, or online through the NHS Business Services Authority. Remember to check you're not eligible for any other exemptions before purchasing a PPC.

More information on Prescription Pre-Payment Certificates 

Purchase a Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate Online 

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