Approximately 90% of all prescriptions are currently dispensed free of charge in England. This is set to rise by 20p during April, with another increase set for next year. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales do not charge for prescriptions. People over the age of 60, children and people who have low income rates are exempted from this charge which is currently £7.85.
The Department of Health has stated that the government has had to make tough decisions in an attempt to protect the NHS budget. Charges for certain items have remained a crucial source of revenue to continue the delivery of quality NHS services. This has become extremely important due to the increasing demands that are being made on the NHS. The current NHS expenditure for medicines has doubled since 2000.
The prescription charge for each appliance or medicine dispensed will increase to £8.05, with an increase to £8.25 set for 2015.
The cost for dental services will also be increased. As from April 2014, a band one treatment course will be increased by 50p. This means that the cost will increase to £18.50. A band two treatment course will be increased by £1.50 to £50.50, and a band 3 treatment course will be increased by £5 to £219.
The costs for prepayment certificates which cover prescription costs for a period of three or twelve months will not be increased. It will remain at £29.10 for three months and 104 for 12 months.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has asked for more flexibility to be applied to repeat prescriptions. They have requested that prescription charges be linked to repeat authorisation, instead of to individual prescription forms.
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