Millions eligible for free prescriptions across the UK
Vulnerable groups are eligible for this important support depending on their age or health status. With the cost of living crisis pushing the price of goods and utilities up, households will be looking for ways to cut costs in the coming months. One of the ways people can do this is checking if they qualify for free prescriptions on the NHS.
Someone’s age is an important factor in determining whether people are entitled to this freebie benefit.
Here is a full list of the demographics who are eligible for free prescriptions based on their age bracket:
- Over 60s in England
- Young people under 16
- Young people between the ages of 16 and 18 if they are in higher education
- Residents in Scotland and Wales no matter what age they are.
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Outside of qualifying age demographics, free prescriptions are also available to people who have certain conditions and get particular documentation.
If someone is pregnant, or has had a baby in the last year, they can get a valid maternity exemption certificate.
This is known as a MatX and is proof that someone is eligible for free prescriptions due to being a new or soon-to-be mother.
Furthermore, if someone has a qualifying health issue or illness, they can get a MedEx or medical exemption certificate which allows them to get the freebie benefit.
Here is a full list of the qualifying conditions someone needs to have at least one of to claim a medical exemption certificate:
- A permanent fistula which needs continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
- A form of hypoadrenalism which requires specific substitution therapy
- Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
- Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
- Myasthenia gravis
- Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy.
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Those who do not meet any of the above criteria for free prescriptions will have to pay a prescription charge for their medication.
While many purchase a prepayment certificate (PPC) to save money on costs, the price of a prescription charge is set at £9.35 per item in England.
The Government recently made the decision to freeze prescription charges in a bid to help people on low income who still have to pay.
Laura Cockram, the head of Policy and Campaigns at Parkinson’s UK and chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, voiced her support for the Government’s decision to free charges.
Ms Cockram explained: “We welcome the UK Government’s decision to freeze NHS prescription charges to help with the cost of living.
“It will be a relief for those who need medicine to stay well. However, it appears to be a short-term measure for resolving a long-standing issue.
“We know that people with long-term health conditions like Parkinson’s, asthma, HIV, heart disease and MS have struggled to afford vital medication.
“When people miss, reduce or delay taking their medication, their condition deteriorates and they are more likely to visit their GP more or end up in accident and emergency.
“We call on the Government to rule out aligning the charge with the state pension age and urgently commit to reviewing the outdated prescription charge exemption list.”
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