NHS prescription costs
From 1st April, certain NHS prescription charges in England will increase by 30p to £9.65. The cost of prescription ‘season tickets’ – which allow you to prepay for multiple prescriptions over a set period – is also rising. If you regularly pay for prescriptions, it’s worth checking if you should buy a certificate now before prices go up.
Charges for wigs and fabric supports will also be increased in line with inflation.
Details of the revised charges for 2023 – 2024 are listed below:
Single charge: £9.65
3-month PPC: £31.25
12-month PPC: £111.60
HRT PPC: £19.30
Wigs and fabric supports
Surgical bra: £31.70
Abdominal or spinal support: £47.80
Stock modacrylic wig: £78.15
Partial human hair wig: £207.00
Full bespoke human hair wig: £302.70
Help with the costs of dental care
Free dental care
You don’t have to pay for NHS dental services if you fit one or more brackets of the criteria.
NHS Low Income scheme
The NHS Low Income scheme is there to support you if you’re on a low income and need help paying for NHS costs such as prescriptions, dental treatments, the opticians, travel costs to get to/from NHS appointments and NHS wigs/fabric supports. You must be a pensioner, a student, earning a wage, receiving state benefits or living in a care home to apply for this.
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
If you’re referred to hospital or another NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund on reasonable travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).
NHS exemption certificate
An NHS exemption certificate helps you to pay for NHS costs, such as your prescriptions or dental treatment. Note that medical exemptions differ in Scotland and Wales.
Exemptions for pregnant women
Pregnant women and women who have had a baby in the last 12 months get free NHS dental treatment. You may have to show proof, such as a maternity exemption certificate (MatEx), a maternity certificate (MATB1), or your baby’s birth certificate.
Save money with a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC)
If you know you’ll have to pay for a lot of NHS prescriptions, it may be cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate – also known as a PPC. It covers all your NHS prescriptions, including NHS dental prescriptions, no matter how many items you need.
Help with optical costs
Free eye tests
You could be entitled to a free NHS sight test.
NHS optical vouchers
You’re entitled to an optical voucher for help towards the cost of your glasses or contact lenses if you meet the correct criteria.
Speak to your employer
You may find your employer will contribute towards the cost of an eye test and, in some cases, there may be work schemes that cover the full cost.
If you’re receiving Universal Credit
You qualify for help with health costs if (on the date you claim):
- you receive Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period
- you receive Universal Credit, which includes an element for a child, or yourself (or your partner) had limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), and you either had no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period
Visit the GOV.UK website for more information about the Universal Credit assessment period.
The Blue Badge Scheme
Blue Badges help people with disabilities or health conditions park closer to their destination. You can apply for a badge for yourself, on behalf of somebody else or an organisation that transports people that need a Blue Badge.
Your Blue Badge usually lets you park for free. You can park for free on streets with parking meters or pay-and-display machines for as long as you need to and in disabled parking bays on streets for as long as you need to, unless a sign says there’s a time limit.
If you’ve got a Blue Badge, you might be eligible for extra concessions, like exemption from road tax, road tolls or access to town centres where other vehicles are restricted.
Health Adjustment Passport
If you have a disability or health condition, a Health Adjustment Passport can be used to help identify what support and changes you might need when you’re in work – or moving into work. This could include support from Access to Work, such as funding for specialist equipment, support getting to and from work and support when in work.
Looking after your health
Going to the gym
While it costs to work out and go to the gym, you can get discounted rates of up to 73% through your local council-run leisure centre, rather than an independent group. You’ll need to apply for the discount through your local leisure centre. Get in touch with your local council to find out more.
Support to quit smoking
NHS Stop Smoking Services vary across the country, but many people don’t realise that their GP can also help them to stop.
You may also have a nearby Stop Smoking Service, which provides free advice and can refer you to your GP.
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