Health: Prescriptions

House of Lords written question – answered on 22nd June 2011.

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Photo of Baroness McDonagh Baroness McDonagh Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what incentives they are exploring to ensure that healthcare workers, pharmacists and front-line staff in chemists actively promote pre-payment certificates to increase uptake and the number of people benefiting from the scheme.

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have applied to the prescription pre-payment certificate scheme in each of the past three years; and how many people the Government expect to join this scheme as a result of their plans to promote pre-payment certificates.

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the prescription pre-payment scheme costs to administer and promote.

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are exploring how technology could be utilised to ensure that people who need to buy multiple prescriptions do not pay more than they would under the prescription pre-payment scheme.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The department produces free leaflets and posters providing information about all the help with healthcare costs including prescription pre-payment certificates (PPCs) for display in surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals. These can be ordered by phoning 0845 610 1112. We are aware that technological solutions may have some attractions but there are affordability and feasibility issues.

The administering of PPCs, medical exemption certificates and maternity exemption certificates is a single process carried out by the NHS Business Services Authority. It is not, therefore, possible to provide a separate cost for administering and promoting PPCs.

The following table shows how many applications for a PPC have been received in each of the past six years. A person may submit more than one application in a year. We have made no forecast of the number of applications expected to be received in future years.

PPCs issued or purchased (England)
Duration of certificates
Financial Year 3-month 4-month 12-month Total
2005-06 638,413 524,232 1,162,645
2006-07 650,782 520,449 1,171,231
2007-081 474,570 176,503 593,507 1,244,580
2008-09 730,592 652,870 1,383,462
2009-10 714,594 662,588 1,377,182
2010-11 689,434 701,164 1,390,598

Source: NHS Help with Health Costs (HwHC) PPC database

1 3 Month PPCs and Direct Debit payments were introduced in July 2007.

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