The 15 groups that qualify for free prescriptions – are YOU on the list?

AS the cost of living crisis hits – we are all trying to cut back on unnecessary spending.

One way you might be able to free up some cash, is by checking if you are eligible for free prescriptions.


There are a select group of people who have access to free prescriptions – are you one of them?Credit: Getty

There are fifteen groups of people who don’t have to pay a penny for their medicines, thanks to the NHS.

Each prescription costs £9.35 – but if you want to save money, you can buy a three month prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) for £30.25 or a 12-month PPC for £108.10.

Currently, free prescriptions are available for those under 16 years old or 16, 17 and 18 and in full time education, or over 60.

Pregnant women and new mothers are eligible to claim free prescriptions.

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Certain illnesses can also exempt you from prescription charges as well as being on some benefits.

The full list of people who don’t have to pay include those who:

  1. Are 60 or over

2. Are under 16

3. Are 16 to 18 and in full-time education

4. Are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)

5. Have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)

6. Have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)

7. Hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability

8. Are an NHS inpatient

If you or your partner (including civil partner) receive, or you’re under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:

9. Income Support

10. Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

11. Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

12. Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

13. Universal Credit and meet the criteria

If you’re entitled to or named on:

14. A valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate – if you do not have a certificate, you can show your award notice. You qualify if you get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less

15. A valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

You can also use this questionnaire – “Check before you tick” – to see if you are eligible in case you are not sure.

For all the above exemptions, the pharmacist will ask for proof of eligibility.

For those who don’t qualify for free prescriptions but are struggling financially, there are other means of support such as prepayment certificates and the NHS low income scheme.

Your pharmacist should be able to advise you on whether you qualify for the schemes.

What medical conditions are covered?

  • cancer
  • a permanent fistula
  • a form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison’s disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
  • diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • diabetes, except where treatment is by diet alone
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxoedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy
  • a continuing physical disability that means you cannot go out without the help of another person

These people can have credit-card sized cards that show they are medically exempt, which lasts for five years and will need renewal.

If you believe you fall under this category, but don’t have a card, ask your doctor for an FP92A form.

Earlier this year it was revealed that posties will now deliver NHS prescriptions.

Delivery is free for patients and the new service aims to make it even more convenient for you to get your pills directly to you.

The Royal Mail has teamed up with Pharmacy2U to help millions of Brits.

Those wanting to use the new service just need to download the Royal Mail Health app.

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Normal prescription charges still apply for those who pay, but you wont have to fork out the delivery charge.

Across the country NHS patients are able to go direct to their local pharmacies for their prescriptions.

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