Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).

The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.


NHS charges

These charges apply in England only. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales prescriptions are free of charge.

  • Prescription (per item): £9.00
  • 3-month PPC: £29.10
  • 12-month prepayment certificate (PPC): £104.00

Prescription Prepayment Certificates

If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than 15 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC.

How to apply for a PPC

  • Check if you’re entitled to free prescriptions before you apply for your PPC.
  • It’s quickest to buy your PPC online. The PPC will start from the day you submit your application, unless you request a different start date, but the start date must be within one month before or after the date of your application.
  • If you prefer talking to someone, you can call the PPC order line on 0300 330 1341. Again, your certificate is valid from the day you make the phone call, unless you request otherwise.
  • Ensure you have your bank details or credit or debit card details ready.
  • Although the PPC is valid from the day of your application (unless otherwise requested), it may take a couple of days for you to receive your certificate in the post. This means you won’t be able to provide evidence that you hold a PPC until your certificate arrives, so you may have to pay for your prescription and ask for a refund afterwards.
  • You can apply by post, too. Complete and sign your application form, and send it along with a cheque, postal order, or credit or debit card details to:
  • NHS Help with Health Costs
    PPC Issue Office
    PO Box 854
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE99 2DE

Print off a PPC application form (PDF, 177kb) or pick one up from your GP surgery or pharmacy.

Help with Health Costs

There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website

A note about exemption certificates. 

It is the patient’s responsibility to check their entitlement for free prescriptions (unless aged over 60) and to obtain a valid exemption certificate from NHSBSA. 

Please be advised: the Prescription Exemption Checking Service involves prescription forms being checked to verify the accuracy of the exemption declared by patients.  Where this cannot be confirmed the patient is sent a Penalty Charge Notice. 

MEDEX: People with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions if they hold a valid medical exemption certificate. You must apply for a certificate.  Medical exemption certificates last for five years or until the patient’s 60th birthday, whichever is sooner.  The certifcate must be renewed before obtaining further free prescriptions.  If you do not hold a valid exemption certificate and claim free prescriptions – you will be sent a penalty charge.

More information is available from:  NHS Business Services Authority

To check if you can get free prescriptions, please read all the information on the above websites and if necessary, speak to your GP or pharmacy .

Maternity and Medical exemption forms are available from reception – you need to complete the form and have it signed off by your GP.