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DHSC revises NHS prescription charges by 25p, HRT rates to go higher

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PPC priced at £2.90 extra for 12 months under the revised NHS Prescription charges while HRT rates increase by approximately 2.59%

In a recent announcement, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has declared alterations to the NHS prescription charges, slated to take effect from May 1st, 2024. The new charge will see a rise to £9.90 per prescription item, up from the current £9.65. However, it’s noteworthy that certain items may incur more than one charge.

These changes, reflected in the amended National Health Service (Charges for Drugs and Appliances) Regulations, extend beyond the NHS prescription charge alone. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs), including the Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) PPC, are also subject to adjustments.

Under the revised scheme, a three-month PPC will be priced at £32.05, while a 12-month PPC will escalate to £114.50. These certificates are designed to provide financial relief for individuals requiring multiple prescription items within specified timeframes.

Particularly concerning is the increase in the HRT PPC, which will now stand at £19.80.

 

In a survey conducted earlier this year, 90 per cent of pharmacists admitted seeing cases where patients decline all the medicines on a prescription due to cost. With this, concerns over the confluence of rising costs and drug shortages have sparked warning from the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA).

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy England, expressed dismay over the decision, stating, “Yet again community pharmacies must be the bearers of bad news as the Government decides to raise the NHS prescription charge.”

Morrison highlighted the detrimental impact on vulnerable patients, who may now face difficult choices regarding which medications they can afford.

Opposition to the charge remains strong, with Morrison describing it as a burden on the vulnerable and an added responsibility for pharmacy teams.

She emphasized the strain imposed by the charge amidst wider challenges faced by community pharmacies.

As the implementation date approaches, concerns are mounting regarding the implications for patients, particularly those already grappling with financial constraints.

The DHSC’s decision underscores ongoing debates surrounding healthcare accessibility and affordability, with stakeholders urging for solutions that prioritize patient welfare.

It’s important to note that this specific PPC is only applicable when patients are prescribed listed HRT medicines. Patients are encouraged to consult the NHSBSA website for an updated list of covered HRT medications.

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