The current system of prescription charge exemptions in England is extensive and already includes exemptions for people on certain benefits. People can also apply through the NHS Low Income Scheme. This system of exemptions means that around 60 per cent of the population are exempted from paying prescription charges and around 90 per cent of prescription items are dispensed without charge.
We are continuing to explore options for reforming the current prescription charging arrangements, taking into account the current financial context. We are also examining the implications of the introduction of Universal Credit in relation to those benefits that currently entitle the recipient of that benefit to free prescriptions.