Who is entitled to a prescription exemption certificate?

Pregnant women or women who have had a child in the previous 12 months. You need to apply for a Maternity Exemption Card, using form FW8. The form is available from doctors, nurses, midwives and health visitors. You are required to complete the form and your doctor, nurse, midwife or health visitor will also sign the form to confirm that the information given by you is correct.

You will be sent a card which will last until 12 months after the expected date of the birth (you can apply for an extension if the baby is born late). If you have a Maternity Exemption Card all your prescriptions are free, whatever the medication is for.

Many health conditions require regular medication, but there are a only a few of these conditions that qualify for an exemption certificate:

  • Cancer treatment (including treatment for the effects of cancer or treatment for the effects of a current/previous cancer treatment)
  • A permanent fistula requiring dressing
  • Hypoadrenalism e.g. Addison’s disease
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Diabetes mellitus except where treatment is by diet alone
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Myxoedema (underactive thyroid) or other conditions where thyroid hormone replacement is necessary
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive medication
  • A continuing physical disability which means you cannot go without help from another person.

If you have one of the specified conditions, ask for an application form (FP92A) from your doctor’s surgery. You need to fill it in and your doctor (or an authorised member of the practice staff) will sign to confirm that the information you’ve given is correct. You will then be sent a Medical Exemption Certificate

If you have a Medical Exemption Certificate, all your prescriptions are free, whatever the medication is for.

If you are on low income, you may qualify for help with prescription charges. Your entitlement to help is based on your individual circumstances, such as income, savings etc. You will need to complete a HC1 form ‘Claim for Help with Health Costs’ and then send it off in the prepaid envelope provided.

If you qualify for help, you will receive a HC2 certificate for full help, or a HC3 certificate for partial help. The certificate will detail who is covered and how long it lasts.

HC1 claim forms are available from:

  • Your JobCentre Plus Office
  • NHS Hospital
  • NHS Formsline – Tel: 0845 60 1112 or Textphone: 08700 102 870
  • Some GP Surgeries, pharmacies, dentists or opticians may stock them

If you have regular medicines (more than 3 prescription items in 3 months or more than 11 items in 12 months), you could save money by purchasing a Pre-Payment Certificate (PPC).

From 1st April 2020:

  • A 3-month PPC costs £29.65
  • A 12-month PPC costs £105.90

Once you have a PPC, all your prescriptions during that period are included in the one-off fee.

Your PPC will be valid from the date you buy it, unless you ask for a different start date. The start date can be up to one month earlier or one month later than the date you buy the PPC.

If you’re buying a 12-month PPC, you can pay over 10 months using a direct debit payment scheme. This will help you to spread the cost.

You can purchase your Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate in four ways:

  • Online- complete and submit a PPC (FP95) application form on the NHS Business Services Authority website and pay by debit or credit card
  • By Phone – by calling the NHS Business Services Authority order phone line on 0300 330 1341 and pay by debit or credit card.
  • By post- pick up a FP95 application form from any GP surgery or pharmacy. Send the completed form with credit/debit card details to the address shown on the form
  • At certain registered pharmacies in England – to check contact your local Murrays branch or call the NHS Business Services Authority advice phone line on 0300 330 1341

If you are still unsure and require further guidance please contact our Pharmacy Team by clicking here and complete the online contact form.

Published in: Prescription Charges