Prescription charges

Regulations have been approved by the Scottish Parliament to abolish NHS prescription charges in Scotland. From the 1 April 2011 Scottish NHS prescription forms presented for dispensing in Scotland will not attract a charge.

Prescription forms from Wales, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man will be dispensed free of charge under current arrangements when presented for dispensing in Scotland.

From the 1 April 2013 prescription forms from England will be charged at the new English rate of £7.85. The exception being if the patient is exempt from paying charges as listed in Regulation 4 of the National Health Service (Free Prescriptions and Charges for Drugs and Appliances) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 or the prescription form is accompanied by a valid entitlement card.

Exemptions

Regulations have been approved by the Scottish Parliament to abolish NHS prescription charges in Scotland. From the 1 April 2011, Scottish NHS prescription forms presented in Scotland will not attract a charge.

However, from the 1 April 2013, prescription forms from England will be charged at the new English rate of £7.85. The exception being if the patient is exempt from paying charges as listed as listed below.

The patient doesn't have to pay because he/she is:

  • is under 16 years of age
  • is 16, 17 or 18 years of age and in full time education
  • is 60 years of age or over
  • has a valid maternity or medical exemption certificate (EC92)
  • has a valid prescription pre-payment certificate
  • has a valid War Pension exemption certificate
  • gets, or has a partner who gets income support
  • has a partner who gets 'Pension Credit guarantee credit’ (PCGC)
  • gets, or has a partner who gets Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • is entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
  • is named on a current NHS HC2 certificate
  • was prescribed free-of-charge contraceptives
  • was prescribed free-of-charge medicine to treat tuberculosis
  • gets, or has a partner who gets, income related Employment Support Allowance

If you are entitled to any of the above the Pharmacy may ask you to show evidence that your entitled to your free NHS prescriptions.

NHS Counter Fraud Services also provide guidance on patient exemptions.

Medical exemption certificate

Patients suffering from any of the conditions listed below will continue to be eligible to apply for a medical exemption certificate or register for the Minor Ailment Service and receive free NHS prescriptions in England.

  • Permanent Fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy, or ilestomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
  • forms of hypoadrenalism (including Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is required
  • diabetes insipidus and other forms of hypopituitarism
  • diabetes mellitus, except when treatment is by diet alone
  • hypoparathyriodism
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxoedema
  • epilepsy requiring continuous anti-convulsive therapy
  • a continuing physical disability which prevents a patient from leaving a residence without the help of another person

If you do have one of these conditions and wish to register for the Minor Ailment Service or require a prescription to be dispensed in England you will benefit from holding a Medical Exemption Certificate. For patients who do not have these requirements, there is no need to apply for a Medical Exemption Certificate.

Contact your GP practice and request a Medical Exemption (EC92A) form to be completed by your GP. Your GP is required to complete the EC92A to verify that you have a medical condition that entitles you to free NHS prescriptions.

You and your GP are required to complete the form and you must make suitable arrangements to complete the patient’s part of the form.

Expired certificates

If your medical exemption certificate expires and you are under the age of 60 contact your GP surgery and ask them to complete an EC92A form. You and your GP must sign the form and the appropriate medical condition must be ticked. After the form has been completed, send the form to the appropriate Exemption department, according to your NHS Board area as listed below: -

Argyll & Bute, Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway, Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire and Western Isles to Practitioner Services (Medical), Meridian Court, 5 Cadogan Street, Glasgow, G2 6QE

Borders, Fife, Forth Valley and Lothians to Practitioner Services (Medical), Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9EB

Grampian, Highland, Orkney, Shetland and Tayside to Practitioner Services (Medical), Bridge View, 1 North Esplanade West, Aberdeen, AB11 5QF

Patients who are age 60 and over are not required to renew their medical exemptions certificates. You are still entitled to your NHS prescriptions free of charge.

Maternity exemption certificate

Replacing a lost maternity exemption certificate

Please contact the appropriate Practitioner Services Exemptions Department in the Medical Contact Details section if you have lost your maternity exemption certificate and need to replace it.

You can request either a duplicate medical or maternity exemption certificate to be sent out by post to your home address.

Maternity exemption certificate validity if your baby is stillborn

Your certificate is valid if, within the last twelve months, you have given birth to a live child or a child registered as still-born under the Regulations of Birth, Death & Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965.

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