People in England requiring multiple NHS prescriptions may be shelling out a lot more than they need to, by paying individually for each one.
A little known NHS ‘season ticket’, called a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), can save patients the hefty cumulative cost of purchasing multiple NHS prescriptions.
How much is the current prescription cost?
The charge for an individual prescription on the NHS for the majority of people over 18 and under 60, or those over 16 and not in full time education, is £9.15 per item. Although there are other reasons people may be completely exempt from paying for subscriptions, which you can find listed on the NHS website.
A PPC is only useful if you are not entitled to free prescriptions.
How much does a PPC cost?
A PPC covers the cost of all NHS prescriptions, including NHS dental prescriptions, regardless of how many you need. There are currently two types of PPC to choose from.
The first is a three month PPC, for those who need more than three prescribed items in the space of three months. The second is a 12 month PPC, for people who require over 11 prescribed items during a year.
The three month PPC costs £29.65, while the 12 month version costs £105.90.
How much could a PPC save me?
The scheme can help those who struggle to pay for an array of medications to save hundreds of pounds a year.
Patients who require at least two prescriptions per month could save a total of £113.70 with a 12 month PPC.
Additionally, those who need three items each month could save £223.50, while those who require four items each month could save £333.30, both with a 12 month PPC.
How can I buy a PPC?
You can buy a PPC online or over the phone by calling 0300 330 1341. Alternatively, some pharmacies sell the certificates. You can find out if you can buy one at your local pharmacy by checking the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA)’s list here.
Criticisms over lack of publicity
A social media user recently took to Twitter to express their disbelief over the lack of publicity the scheme has received, writing, “I think it’s mad that it isn’t widely known/advertised that you can pay £10 a month for a NHS prepayment prescription certificate and you can get as many prescriptions you need. I’m picking up 3 prescriptions this afternoon that should cost me £30.”
Several people replied, expressing their own shock. Some told how they had chosen not to seek medical care due to the large cumulative cost of multiple prescriptions.
One wrote, “Girl what!? Where was this news , from the nhs or any of the health care professionals I saw, when I stopped my meds for a year because I couldn’t afford them”
Another user responded, “I had no idea about this. Like I literally refuse to go to the doctor about my multiple chronic illnesses bc I know I need more than one medicine and I can't afford it.”
The certificates could help encourage those who struggle with multiple health conditions to collect their prescriptions without financial worry.