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Cost of NHS prescriptions

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ianess | 00:44 Sat 29th Apr 2006 | News
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A news item today was about breast cancer patients being unable to afford to pay for their NHS prescriptions, and a cost of �1000 p.a was being bandied about.

Why is the "Pre-payment Certificate" not more widely advertised for people with ongoing and multiple medication requirements? A simple one-off payment of around �105 p.a [�2 per week] covers all medicines.



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Because the Government would lose out on a vast amount of money??

The pre-payment prescription certificate is poorly displayed in most pharmacies, it is also something you have to fill in a form and send away for.

When recovering from surgery and/or the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy filling in forms is the last thing you want to do.

Patients may also be slightly misled by their consultant they are told what the treatment will be in a hospital where treatment is free, if they are not use to the ways of the NHS they may not realize they are going to have to pay for any treatment once they have left the hospital, also now there seems to be some instructions to GPs only allowing prescriptions to be issued for a months treatment at a time even though the treatment course is for longer, thus increasing the cost to the patient.

It seems wrong that diabetic patients get their life-saving drugs free, whilst cancer and patients with other diseases have to pay for their life-saving drugs.

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sandbach99.......while I agree with much of what you say, can I mention that pre-payment certificates can be bought over the counter with a debit/credit card in Boots pharmacies.
Also, and speaking from experience, it's only insulin-dependant diabetics who qualify for free prescriptions. Type 2 controlled by diet do not qualify.

All the same there is no-one who should be paying more than �105 [approx] per year in total for their prescription medicines.

Much better publicising is needed.

Sorry I was totally unaware you could buy a prepayment prescription certificate over the counter, my daughter has one but always sends to Newcastle for it, she buys one in March at the old price because every April they go up, trip to Boots next time.
Although �100+ is a small price to pay I think some patients would find it hard to pay it as they are on basic pay, if they are lucky, or on statutary sick pay or low rate incapacity benefit, and having to find money to travel to the hospitals, car parking fees at the hospitals and other extras as well as normal household expenses the �100 becomes too much.
I don't think hospitals or GP surgeries do enough to advise patients of what help is available, someone should sit in a prominent position in waiting rooms not to discuss finances of anyone but to give out phone numbers for advice, leaflets, forms, point patients to lesser known resources like benevolent funds, charities etc, this would benefit all patients not just cancer patients,

You can only buy the pre-payment certificate in a few trial Boots stores. The best way is to ring up with a credit/debt card using the phone number displayed in pharmacys - no forms. When people are paying for a few items at once I always tell them about pre-payment (I work in Boots)but its surprising how many people aren't interested. Plus they also do one lasting for 4 months for people with short term/seasonal prescriptions.

Question Author

ytrewq.....good name that......just out of curiosity can you explain why the purchase of a PPC is any different to any other item that can be bought with a debit card?

Seems a bit strange that you mention availability in only a few trial Boots.

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Eddie51 free prescriptions are only available to people on means-tested benefits like Income Support. Therefore in a couple where both work, no children, and the wife develops breast cancer she then gets statutory sick pay, most of this goes on travelling to hospital, parking fees, prescriptions, there is no entitlement to Means-tested benefits because of his wages, likely result money and health problems.

Incapacity benefit alone does not give you the right to free prescriptions.

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