NHS England prescription fees frozen for a year

NHS England prescription fees are frozen for a year Credit: Facebook @PharmacyTimes

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that NHS England prescription fees will be frozen for a year, in response to the cost of living crisis.

Javid said the cost of prescriptions normally increases with inflation every year, but there was a need to “put money back in people’s pockets”.

It is understood to be the first time in 12 years that the price has been frozen, saving patients £17million, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

This means that the current cost of £9.35 for a single prescription will remain for another year, as will the £30.25 three-month prescription prepayment certificate (PPC). For those on long-term medicine, the cost will remain at £108.10 for the year, which can be paid in instalments.

The change follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call on ministers to find ways to help reduce the financial strain on families. At his first meeting of the cost of living committee, he urged ministers to be as creative as possible, but that the measures should not require funding from the Treasury.

Javid said: “The rising cost of living is inevitable as we face global challenges and the repercussions of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.

“While we cannot completely prevent these increases, where we can help, we absolutely will.

“That’s why I’m freezing dispensing fees to help ease some of those pressures and put money back in people’s pockets.”

The measure comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked ministers to propose initiatives to reduce the pressure on family budgets caused by soaring world prices.

After the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday, the Prime Minister chaired the first meeting of the government’s cost of living committee.

He urged ministers to be as ‘creative as possible’ in coming up with ideas to help struggling families that would not require new Treasury funds.

Although some efforts have been made by the government, they have been criticized by opposition parties, who say they have no idea how to deal with the problem. While critics said inflation was likely to stay around single digits for the foreseeable future, more needed to be done.

The NHS England prescription fee freeze will do little to appease critics with the same free prescriptions in countries of origin, while benefiting only some and not everyone.

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