By Gerald Heneghan
Prescription charges in England are set to rise by 20p for each quantity of a drug or appliance as of April 1st 2013.
The Department of Health today (March 1st) announced that costs would grow from £7.65 to £7.85 for each item, although the cost of a prescription prepayment certificate will remain at a flat fee of £29.10 for a three-month certificate and £104 for an annual certificate.
Dental care will also see rises, with the charge payable for a single cost of treatment increasing by 50p, bringing it up to £18.
Treatments in bands two and three will see similar gains, growing by £1 and £5 respectively.
However, those benefitting from optical vouchers from the NHS will see their value increase as of March,
“The range of NHS optical vouchers available to children, people on low incomes and individuals with complex sight problems are also being increased in value. In order to continue to provide help with the cost of spectacles and contact lenses, optical voucher values will rise by an overall one per cent,” said health minister Lord Howe.
“In England, around 90 per cent of prescription items are dispensed free.”
Speaking to BBC News, Neal Patel, spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society described the rises as “deeply disappointing”.
“Hitting patients in the pocket when they are already suffering from long-term health problems heaps unfairness on top of illness,” he said.
Charges are also set to be bolstered by 2.5 per cent for those obtaining wigs and fabric supports from the NHS.