On 15 May 2022 the Government announced that prescription charges in England are to be frozen for the first time in 12 years. This is following the Government’s recently conducted annual review on prescription charges. The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that the current freeze on prescription charges would remain until at least April 2023. The announcement is in line with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s objective to implement measures to ease the pressure on household budgets following the cost of living crisis.
How much will this affect people?
The cost of prescription charges in England have steadily been rising in recent years. For example, a single prescription in England has risen from £7.65 in 2012-13 to £9.35 in 2021-22, including an increase of 20p from 2020-21. Traditionally, prescription prices increase in line with inflation. This affects the people who have to pay for prescriptions, which currently costs patients in England £17m a year. Campaigners have noted the Government’s intentions but have highlighted that 90% of prescriptions dispensed are already free of any charge. This is because prescriptions are free for everyone in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In addition, those on state benefits, pregnant women, new mothers, disabled people, the over-60s and under 16s already receive free prescriptions.
Health Secretary Mr Javid said.
“The rise in the cost of living has been unavoidable as we face global challenges and the repercussions of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine. Whilst we can’t completely prevent these rises, where we can help – we absolutely will.”