New NHS tool lets you check if you can get free prescriptions - MSE News

The NHS has launched a new tool which allows you to check if you're eligible for free prescriptions or other help with health costs...
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'New NHS tool lets you check if you can get free prescriptions'
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  • Works well, told me I'm eligible if I obtain a medical exemption certificate which I already have.
  • So many people get it free, one wonders if all the admin concerned with charging a minority is worth it.

    Anyway, so much for the principle of "free at the point of need"...
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,705 Forumite
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    You'd soon notice the difference if you had to pay full whack for prescriptions. The few private precriptions I've had have been eye watering.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • pmduk
    pmduk Posts: 10,655 Forumite
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    elsien wrote: »
    You'd soon notice the difference if you had to pay full whack for prescriptions. The few private precriptions I've had have been eye watering.


    I suspect the PP was discussing the difference between the NHS prescription charge and all prescriptions being issued free
  • A_Nice_Englishman
    A_Nice_Englishman Posts: 2,301 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Mortgage-free Glee!
    edited 12 September 2018 at 12:12PM
    The site seems poorly designed. For example, once you've told it you're over 60 or live in Wales there is no need to ask any more questions to work out that the NHS will pay for your prescriptions.
  • chattychappy
    chattychappy Posts: 7,302 Forumite
    edited 13 September 2018 at 9:14AM
    elsien wrote: »
    You'd soon notice the difference if you had to pay full whack for prescriptions. The few private precriptions I've had have been eye watering.

    Are you saying the private prescription charge was expensive, or are you rolling in the cost of the drugs which you would have to pay for when using a private prescription?

    The NHS can only get away with charging £8.45 because there is no alternative if you want access to NHS-paid for drugs. If there was competition, I'm sure many pharmacists would pull something off the shelf for much less. The reality is, the prescription charge covers NHS inefficiency and/or cross subsidy for those that get it free and/or a way of making people pay for the health care they need.

    A few years ago a friend of mine went into Boots* with a private prescription for a cancer drug. The cost of the drug plus prescription charge was less than the NHS prescription charge. The woman said is sometimes happens because the Boots charge for a private prescription was less than an NHS one. (Because they don't have to pay anything to the NHS.) In this case the drugs were very cheap - so less than the difference between Boot's charge and the NHS fee. From memory Boots said their charge was £4 at a time when the NHS charge was something like £7.

    A friend of mine always ticked the "free entitlement" box. Eventually he got a letter asking him to prove his free entitlement. He ignored the letters and he got a penalty. He ignored that and they said they'd take him to court to recover the penalty. He ignored that, and nothing happened.

    It does seem strange to me that perfectly healthy people can see a GP free of charge, but once he's decided you need a medicine, you have to pay a charge to access it.

    Personally I buy the stuff I need in France or the far east. I keep a year's supply - and guess what. The cost of the drugs are less than the prescription charges I'd pay to the NHS. Plus what I get is the original branded version, made in the UK with proper English notes inside. The NHS are issuing a generic - so they are certainly coining it.


    *not sure it was Boots, if not I believe it was a chain. But certainly the gist of what the pharmacist said was that the private prescription was less because they don't have to pay the NHS.
  • pmduk
    pmduk Posts: 10,655 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker
    The NHS can only get away with charging £8.45

    Keep up, it's £8.80 now!
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