Chronic Illnesses

Department of Health written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Bingham Andrew Bingham Conservative, High Peak

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what proportion of long-term conditions which entitle patients to free prescriptions are curable.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The list of medical conditions that give entitlement to apply for a National Health Service prescription charge medical exemption certificate are:

- a permanent fistula (including caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy, or ileostomy) which requires continuous surgical dressing or requires an appliance forms of hypoadrenalism (including Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential;

- diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism;

- diabetes mellitus (except where treatment of the diabetes is by diet alone);

- hypoparathyroidism;

- myasthenia gravis;

- myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement);

- epilepsy requiring continuous anti-convulsive therapy;

- continuing physical disability which prevents the patient from leaving his residence without the help of another person; and

- patients undergoing treatment for cancer, the effects of cancer or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment. (From 1 April 2009).

Clinical advice from NHS England is that the majority of these conditions are considered to be permanent, incurable conditions. Only in exceptional cases would a person have the possibility of curative treatment for one of these conditions.

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