Published On: Tue, Jan 11th, 2022

‘It’s really archaic:’ the health conditions that don’t qualify for free NHS prescriptions | Personal Finance | Finance


Campaigners are already fuming because free prescriptions for over 60s look set to be axed at the same time as the cost of prescriptions is rising. They say it will force millions of Britons to choose between their health and paying their bills.

A doctor has spoken out on BBC Morning Live slamming the current system in England that means some patients with serious medical conditions have to pay for their prescriptions.

Currently, people can apply for a medical exemption certificate which means they get free prescriptions if they are suffering from illnesses like cancer, diabetes or epilepsy.

However, other debilitating illnesses like Parkinson’s, arthritis and asthma aren’t exempt and people have to pay for their prescriptions unless they are on certain benefits.

Dr Ellie highlighted the issue on the show and said she has been a doctor for 15 years and the list which was first introduced in 1968 is “really archaic”.

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To add insult to injury, the prescription charge, currently set at £9.35, looks likely to increase at the same time in a double blow to pensioners’ pockets.

However, people can choose to purchase a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) to help them save money on their NHS prescription costs.

Meanwhile, people are up in arms because in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are entitled to free prescriptions no matter what their age.

Also speaking on BBC Morning Live, Dr Xand van Tulleken said: “In the UK because we’ve got devolved Government for each of the nations they are free to make decisions about health care.”

Which illnesses qualify for free NHS prescriptions?

  • a permanent fistula (for example, caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) which needs continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
  • a form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison’s Disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
  • diabetes insipidus and other forms of hypopituitarism
  • diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism which needs thyroid hormone replacement)
  • epilepsy which needs continuous anticonvulsive therapy
  • a continuing physical disability which means people can’t go out without the help of another person
  • cancer



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