The NHS prescription charge in England is set to increase to £9.35 from 1 April 2021 for single prescription items, with price increases also announced for prescription prepayment certificates.

The price of single prescription items will increase from the current £9.15 to £9.35, while three-month prescription prepayment certificates are also set to increase from £29.65 to £30.25.

In addition, 12-month prescription prepayment certificates will rise from £105.90 to £108.

The amendments to the National Health Service (Charges for Drugs and Appliances) Regulations were laid before Parliament last week.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman commented: “Nearly 90% of prescription items are dispensed free of charge in community pharmacies in England and existing exemptions are in place covering children, pregnant women, and those over 60, on a low income or with medical conditions like cancer, epilepsy and diabetes.”

“Patients with long-term conditions or on a low income can apply for a range of prescription charge exemptions or additional support through the NHS Low Income scheme,” she added.

In response to the new prescription charges, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPS) England chair Claire Anderson said: “Raising prescription charges in England is totally unacceptable. The increase in cost will only add to the highly concerning levels of health inequalities in this country and no-one should be put in a position where they have to go without their medicines because they can’t afford to pay.”

“By not taking their medicines, people can subsequently become unwell and as a result place more pressure on our health service through hospital admissions. In this current climate, we need to be doing everything we can to ease this pressure and give patients access to their regular medicines without difficulty.

“As a member of the Prescription Charges Coalition, we’ll continue to campaign against charges for prescriptions in England, which are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There must be no barrier between a patient and lifesaving medicines,” she added.