Prescription Pre-payment Certificates and prescription exemptions.

In the last  day or  two , UK Labour Leader and  (ineffective imo) leader of Her Majesty's Opposition  Jeremy Corbyn has suggested  abolishing prescription charges in England, and as is typical,  various left  leaning  media sources make claims about  'poor', 'working class' people  having to spend hundreds of pounds a year on prescriptions.

The reality is that a hell of a lot of the prescriptions issued are exempt anyway

As this list shows.

You can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is dispensed, you:
  • are 60 or over
  • are under 16
  • are 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
  • have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid MedEx
  • hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
  • are an NHS inpatient
You're also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner (including civil partner) receive, or you're under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria
If you're entitled to or named on:
  • a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate – if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice; you qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
  • a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)
and that  doesn't even touch on medical exemptions other than a brief mention of their existence

Medical exemptions

People with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions if:
  • they have one of the conditions listed below, and
  • they hold a valid medical exemption certificate
Medical exemption certificates are issued on application to people who have:
  • a permanent fistula (for example, a caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
  • a form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
  • diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxoedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy
  • a continuing physical disability that means the person cannot go out without the help of another person (temporary disabilities do not count, even if they last for several months)
They're also issued for people undergoing treatment for cancer:
  • including the effects of cancer, or
  • the effects of current or previous cancer treatment
FAQs from the NHS here

There's also the low income  scheme - details here

and of course Contraceptives are free at point of issue / prescription on the NHS

But what is you are in work and earning a reasonable wage and your medical condition is such that you don't get a medical exemption ? are you  going to be clobbered for 9GBP per item every time?

This is where  the Prescription Pre-payment Scheme comes in... For 104 gbp / year you can get unlimited  NHS prescriptions, which is quite useful if like me  you are on two regular 4 weekly / monthly prescriptions plus  a quarterly prescription (although if the  prescription is written in certain way  for that as it's personally administered by the GP or one of their Nurses  - it's an exempt item) it's quite a significant saving 

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