Saving money with NHS prescription prepayment certificate
Advice for patients

3 Ways To Get NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate

NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC) offers an excellent way of saving money when patients get regular prescriptions each month. In summary, any patient who gets two or more items each month will benefit from having an NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate. NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate is also known as ‘prepayment card.’ NHS Business Service Authority no longer sends a card out; instead NHS Prepayment Certificate is sent by email and post. A printout of the email can be used as proof of eligibility when collecting medication from the pharmacy. 

  

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Before you buy PPC: check if you are already eligible for free prescriptions

One of the first questions one is asked when handing in NHS prescription from a doctor or dentist is whether they pay for their medicines. Certain patient groups are eligible for free NHS prescriptions. One common group, for example, is the age exemption group. Anyone who is over 60, under 16 or 16-18, and in full-time education is eligible for free NHS prescriptions. This exemption does not cover students aged 19 or over. Read more.

For full list of exemptions, see ‘Am I entitled to free prescriptions? (NHS)‘. Every NHS prescription (or EPS token) lists all exemptions at the back of the prescription form. If you don’t pay for your prescriptions, you must tick the appropriate exemption and sign at the back of the prescription-form. With certain medical conditions, patients are eligible for a medical exemption certificate, which allows them to get free NHS prescriptions.

Back of FP10 prescription form: exemption list

Please note that you can be fined if you tick inappropriate exemption or if you are not covered by one.

Always check before you tick.

NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificatehow much money can you save?

If you are not eligible to receive free prescriptions, the only option left is to get a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC).

For a set monthly price, you are allowed to get unlimited prescribed items ‘for free.’ You can save money if you need two or more items each month as current prices for prescription prepayment certificate are as follows:

  • £29.10 for 3 months
  • £104 for 12 months (£10.40 monthly direct debit or full payment by card)

As of today, the prescription charge is £9.00 per item prescribed.  

2 NHS prescription charges = £18.00. If a direct debit is set up, savings of £7.60 can be achieved. More prescription items = more savings.

NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate: how to buy

1. ONLINE via NHS Business Authority Website.

You can start using your NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate straight away, set the date in the next month or backdate it to any day in the previous month. Backdating may be needed if you seek to get a refund for prescriptions you have already paid.

2. OVER THE PHONE on 0300 330 1341 with the use of a bank card or direct debit can be set up.

Similarly to the online application, PPC will be valid from the day you made a phone call, or a different start date can be selected as described in the above paragraph.

3. IN A PHARMACY that offers to register an NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate

You will only be able to pay for 3 or 12 months NHS PPC. Direct debit cannot be set up in the pharmacy. A list of pharmacies that offer this service can be found here.

Can I get a refund for prescription charges?

The only way of getting a refund for paid prescription charges is with the NHS refund form (FP57). You can ask for this form at any pharmacy when you pay for your prescriptions. NHS refund form (FP57) must be completed at the point of paying for prescribed items.  

You can’t ask for this form later. You will be eligible for a refund, as long as you have FP57 form, and PPC covers the date when prescription charges were paid.

The prescription prepayment certificate can be backdated by a month. A refund must be claimed within 3 months of prescription charge payment.

I am a community pharmacist working in UK. I blog about drugs, health and pharmacy.

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