Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 12th July 2019.

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Photo of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) (Community Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on wellbeing of prescription penalty charge notices.

Photo of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) (Community Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the availability of free prescriptions on the medication compliance of patients with a chronic illness.

Photo of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) (Community Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has analysed the potential costs and benefits to the NHS of increasing the number of free prescriptions.

Photo of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) (Community Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of ringfencing money raised from prescription charges for the development of future medicines.

Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Department has made no formal assessment. Extensive arrangements are already in place to help people afford National Health Service prescriptions. These include a broad range of NHS prescription charge exemptions, for which someone with a chronic illness may qualify.

To support those with greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, cost of the prescription pre-payment certificates were frozen for another year. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just £2 per week.

Prescription charges are a valuable source of income for the NHS, contributing just over £575 million in revenue in the financial year 2017/18 alone. This funding is particularly important given the increasing demands on the NHS.

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