04 March 2013
The cost of prescription charges in England will rise 20p to £7.85 from April 1st, the government has announced.
In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, prescription charges are free.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society said patients' health was being put at risk by the rise in England.
The cost of prescription prepayment certificates – which offer savings for people needing 14 or more prescription items in a year – will be frozen, at £29.10 for a three-month certificate and £104 for an annual certificate.
Lord Howe, the health minister, said: "The government is investing more than £12.5 billion of extra money in the NHS and we are on course to save £5 billion over this financial year, all of which will be re-directed into front-line care.
"In England, around 90 per cent of prescription items are dispensed free."
Neal Patel, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, described news of the prescription charges rise 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.
"We are deeply concerned that some people have to make choices about their health based on their ability to pay."
People exempt from prescription charges in England include children under 16, income-related benefit claimants and pregnant women.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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