NHS free prescriptions: Find out if you can get help with costs in 3 minutes

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Most NHS treatment is free of charge, while some Britons have to pay for their prescriptions, dental costs and eye care. The NHS website has a helpful tool which can tell a person in just a few minutes what free care they are entitled to.

Users have to put in some details about which country they live in, their date of birth, and if they have a partner.

Information is also needed about the person’s GP and dental practice, and if they get any benefits or tax credits.

The tool will then provide details about what the individual can get for free and any other discounts they can get on NHS services.

NHS prescription charges were frozen this year, but with an average of £9.35 per item in England, the cost could soon add up.

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There are 15 groups of people who are entitled to free NHS prescriptions:

  • Under 16s
  • Aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • Pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
  • Registered disabled and are unable to go out
  • Have a war pension exemption certificate
  • An NHS inpatient
  • In receipt of Income Support
  • In receipt of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • In receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • In receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • In receipt of Universal Credit and their earnings during their last assessment period were £435 or less, or £935 or less if their UC includes an element for a child or they have limited capability for work
  • The owner of a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • In receipt of a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)
  • People with certain illnesses including cancer and epilepsy.

Britons aged 60 and over are also entitled to free prescriptions but this may change, with plans being considered to raise the age to 66.

Prescriptions are free for everyone in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A spokesperson for the DHSC said: “We recognise the pressures people are facing with the rising cost of living and we are taking action to support households, including freezing prescription charges for the first time in 12 years.

“Thanks to our extensive arrangements to help people afford NHS prescription charges, 89 percent of prescriptions in England are already provided free of charge.”

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Some Universal Credit claimants can get free prescriptions, but this depends on the person’s financial situation.

Claimants should qualify if they:

  • Earned £435 or less in the last assessment period
  • Took home £935 or less if this includes an element for a child.

One option to help those who do have to pay is a Pre Payment Certificate (PPC).

This allows a person to buy as many NHS prescriptions as they need throughout the year for £108.10.

A person with a PPC who has two prescriptions a month could save over £100 over the course of a year.

A PPC holder will save money by having the certificate, if they need more than three items in three months, or 11 items in 12 months.

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