Prescription charges have been frozen in England for the first time since 2010 due to what is said to be a “consideration of the cost of living crisis”.
Patients needing NHS prescriptions will continue to pay £9.35 for each medicine or medical appliance dispensed, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed.
Last April saw the price of a prescription rise by 20p and there were widespread concerns that it would rise again this year. But health minister Edward Argar has confirmed that currently there were no plans to “uplift” the cost.
Responding to the DHSC announcement, RPS England chair Thorrun Govind said: “With continued pressures on teams, pharmacists should be allowed to focus on treating patients and prescriptions should not just be affordable, but they should be accessible to all.
“It is extraordinary that the government is considering forcing the over 60s to start paying prescription charges,” she commented in relation to the proposals that would raise the age of free prescriptions to 66 — in line with the state pension age.
Currently over 60s do not need to pay for their prescription while NHS prescriptions are free for everybody in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“With the cost of living impacting all of Great Britain, the government should abolish prescription charges in England all together,” Thorrun added.
Meanwhile, costs for the prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) also remain the same with £30.25 for three months and £108.10 for a year.