The cost of an NHS prescription is set to go up by 20p from April and by a further 20p next year, the Government announced today.
The Department of Health (DH) said the single prescription charge will go up from £7.85 to £8.05 per item this year – with a further rise to £8.25 planned for next year.
In a written ministerial statement, health minister Earl Howe said the single charge increase was necessary to help fund the health service.
The statement read: ‘This Government has made tough decisions to protect the NHS budget and increase it in real terms, but charges for some items remain an important source of revenue to support the delivery high quality NHS services.
‘This is particularly important given the increasing demands on the NHS, with spending on medicines alone almost doubling since 2000.’
Earl Howe added that the costs of prescription prepayment certificates will be frozen this year and next, at £29.10 for the three-month certificate and £104 for an annual certificate, so ‘people with the greatest need are protected, such as those with long term conditions’.
But some GP critics said the hike in single prescription charges was not justified. Dr Andrew Green, chair of the GPC clinical and prescribing subcommittee, said the DH statement was ‘misleading’ as money for prescription charges is not designated for the NHS.