Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions

Once you are 19 you will not automatically be eligible for free prescriptions. You can apply for a low-income exemption certificate by filling in form HC1. This form is available from reception, Student Welfare, Post Offices or the Social Security. If you have frequent medications and are not entitled to free prescriptions you may want to consider buying a prepayment certificate. Ask at a pharmacy or Post Office for details.

Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).

The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.

NHS Charges

These charges apply in England only. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales prescriptions are free of charge.
  • Prescription (per item): £8.60
  • 12-month prepayment certificate (PPC): £104.00
  • 3-month PPC: £29.10
If you will have to pay for more than three prescribed items in three months, or if you need more than 12 prescribed items in a year, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC. There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website.