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NHS prescription charges in England to be frozen for first time in 12 years

Published on 16/05/22 at 10:43am

The Department of Health has said that single prescription charges, which normally rise “in line with inflation”, will remain at £9.35 until next year.

Sajid Javid has said that freezing the costs would “put money back in people’s pockets”. Campaigners welcomes the move, but pointed out that 90% of prescriptions are actually already free of charge.

People eligible for free prescriptions include those on state benefits, pregnant women and new mothers, people with specified medical conditions or disabilities, the over-60s, and the under-16s.

The cost of a single prescription in England has risen from £7.65 in 2012-13 to £9.35 in 2021-22, including an increase of 20p from 2020-21. However, the government had indicated in March that prescription charges in England, which are reviewed annually, would not be increased this year.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the freeze meant prescription charges would not increase until at least April 2023, and would save patients who pay prescription charges in England £17 million.

"The rise in the cost of living has been unavoidable as we face global challenges and the repercussions of Putin's illegal war in Ukraine," Mr Javid said.

"Whilst we can't completely prevent these rises, where we can help - we absolutely will."

Claire Anderson, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said people who do not qualify for free prescriptions because of their income, age, or medication type, often had to make decisions about which medicines they need.

Lina Adams

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