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No increase to NHS prescription charge for first time in 12 years

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There will be no increase to the NHS prescription charge this year, the Government has confirmed.  

In response to a recent written parliamentary question, health minister Edward Argar said that there was ‘currently no planned announcement on any future increase’.  

Responding to a question from Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury Emily Thornberry, Mr Agar said that ‘prescription charges will not be uplifted on 1 April 2022’.

He added: ‘There is currently no planned announcement on any future increase. Decisions on increases take account of a range of evidence including the Gross Domestic Product deflator.’

A Government spokesperson confirmed to Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist that unlike in previous years, the prescription charge will remain at the level set last April – £9.35 per prescription item. 

It comes as the Government is consulting on raising the minimum age for free prescriptions in England, to help the NHS claw back the money it lost from the pandemic.

As it stands, people over the age of 60 can avoid prescription charges. The blanket exemption also applies to people under 16 and people aged 16 to 18 in full-time education.

But under the plans being consulted, the age eligibility for free prescriptions would be raised from 60 to 66 to be in line with the state pension age.

Meanwhile, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) launched a consultation in February on whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should be made available for patients over the counter for the first time.

A version of this story was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist


Patrufini Duffy 11 April, 2022 10:32 pm

How about diabetics and thyroid patients can only get their hormones/machine apparatus for free. Not their migraine medication, antidepressants and the odd Aveeno and vitamin D.

Slobber Dog 12 April, 2022 7:34 am

Nearly 90% get them free anyway.

Simon Gilbert 12 April, 2022 12:09 pm

100% of articles on prescription charges do not mention the prepayment scheme which is an all you can eat buffet of NHS scripts for approx £10/month.

Patrufini Duffy 12 April, 2022 2:29 pm

Yes Simon.
That pre-pay almost conjures made up complaints, simply to get a product, while you have the “pre-pay”. Can I have more inhalers? Can I have more shower cream? One patient asked me if I can get Loreal Creams on prescription and painkillers for a friend.
The joke is hilarious.

Let us not even start on the overseas patient that fakes that they are hypothyroid with a normal TSH (“because they’re on treatment”). Wow – controversial hey NHSE / got a loop hole there.