Prescription charges in England to rise 20p to £7.85


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The Independent Online

Prescription charges are to rise by 20p from £7.65 to £7.85.

The 2.6 per cent rise, which will apply from 1 April, was condemned by patient organisations who said it was unfair to hit people in the pocket when they were suffering from illness.

The rise only applies in England. In  Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, prescriptions are free.

The Health minister Lord Howe defended the rise on the grounds that 90 per cent of prescription items are dispensed free to the elderly, children and those on benefits.

The cost of pre-payment certificates, allowing an unlimited number of prescriptions, is being frozen for a second year at £29.10 for three months or £104 for a year. That offers savings for anyone needing more than four items in three months or 14 in a year. 

Dental charges are also rising by 50p to £18 for check-ups, by £1 to £49 for fillings and by £5 to £214 for crowns.

Neal Patel, spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said the news of the increase in prescription charges was “deeply disappointing”.

“We know from speaking to patients of working age who pay for their prescriptions that that cost can be a major barrier to them getting the life-saving medicines they need,” he said.

“We are deeply concerned that people have to make choices about their health based on their ability to pay.”