Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

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 steps he has taken to publicise the fact that certificates of entitlement to free prescriptions for chronic and incurable conditions are time-limited.

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 NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) sent all English pharmacies and general practitioner practices a supply of posters and booklets entitled ‘Claiming free prescriptions?’ in October 2014 as part of the centralisation of the prescription exemption checking process within the NHSBSA. The poster warns patients of the consequences of claiming free prescriptions incorrectly and directs them to the booklet for more information on eligibility, which states that medical exemption certificates are valid for five years. The poster and booklet are also published on the NHSBSA website at:

The covering letter sent to patients by the NHSBSA along with their medical exemption certificates also references that certificates are liable for renewal, and the expiry date is printed on the certificate itself. The letter also directs recipients to the NHSBSA website and the NHS Help with Health Costs Facebook page where more information is available. The NHS Choices Help with Health Costs pages also contain information about eligibility for free prescriptions, including details on medical exemptions and certificate duration.

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