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 charges

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

  • The current prescription charge is £9.65 per item (£17.60 per pair of elastic hosiery).
  • A three monthly PPC is £31.25 and could save you money if you need more than three prescribed items in three months.  
  • A 12-month certificate is £111.60 and could save you money if you need more than 12 prescribed items in a year.

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. PPCs are available by 10 monthly direct debit instalment payments. The prescription prepayment certificates allow anyone to obtain all the prescriptions they need for £2 per week.

  • Prescription services helpline – 0300 330 1349
  • General Public - Buy or Renew a PPC On-line
  • NHS Low Income Scheme helpline – 0300 330 1343

  • Queries about medical exemption certificates – 0300 330 1341

  • Queries about prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) – 0300 330 1341

  • Queries about tax credit certificates – 0300 330 1347

  • Call 0300 123 0849 to order a paper copy of the HC12, HC5 and HC1 (SC) forms

  • Call 0300 330 1343 for all other queries

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

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