The cost of NHS prescriptions will soar 20p to £8.80 from April.

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy announced: “We have increased the prescription charge by 20p from £8.60 to £8.80 for each medicine or appliance dispensed.”

The rise comes alongside a target for the NHS to make £22billion of cuts and receive £10billion of investment under the Government’s five-year plan.

The three-month and year-long prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) for those with long-term illnesses will be frozen at £29.10 and £104.

The prescription price increase will now be put before parliament and is due to come into effect on April .

Matina Loizou, from Parkinson’s UK and co-chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition, said: “This hike will be catastrophic for people with long-term, or life-long, conditions: 20p per prescription can put further strain on already stretched budgets.

“Many people are unable to work full-time because of their condition and on top of additional costs – such as specialist transport or specific dietary requirements – prescriptions charges can push them over the limit.

“We’ve heard distressing and alarming experiences from people who are facing impossible choices over whether they should eat, heat their home or pay for essential medications.

“The Government needs to ease, not increase, the financial burden on those who have already endured enough.”

Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “In the 2015 spending review, the government committed to support the five-year forward view with £10billion investment in real terms by 2020 to 2021 to fund frontline NHS services.

“Alongside this, the government expects the NHS to deliver £22billion of efficiency savings to secure the best value from NHS resources and primary care must play its part.

“This year, therefore, we have increased the prescription charge by 20p from £8.60 to £8.80 for each medicine or appliance dispensed.

“To ensure that those with the greatest need, and who are not already exempt from the charge, are protected we have frozen the cost of the prescription prepayment certificates for another year.


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