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Am I entitled to free NHS prescriptions?

The prescription charge in England is currently £7.65 (April 2012). For residents of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland there is no charge for prescriptions.

Make sure you don't pay for your prescriptions, if you don't have to. You can obtain free prescriptions if you are under-16, pregnant, over 60, a student in full time education under 19, or receive certain benefits or tax credits. You can also obtain medical exemption if you have any of the following:

  • a 'continuing physical disability which means the person cannot go out without the help of another person'. This is non-specific and can cover a number of conditions not shown below. However temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months
  • a permanent fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or requiring an applicance
  • forms of hypoadrenalism (for example Addison's disease) for which specific subsitution therapy is essential
  • diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • diabetes mellitus except where treatment is by diet alone
  • hypoparathyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxoedema
  • epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy

You will need to complete a medical exemption application form FP92A, available from your GP surgery which needs to be signed by the doctor.

If you do have to pay for prescriptions and have more than one prescription per month it's probably worth buying a pre-payment certificate:

  • three months £29.10
  • year £104.00 (you can pay for the year's certificate by 10 monthly Direct Debit instalments).

You can obtain a pre-payment certificate from the NHS Business Services Authority website or by calling 0845 850 0030.

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