Free prescriptions for cancer patients
Prescription charges for cancer patients were abolished on April 1 2009.
Exemption certificates will be issued to those applicants who, in their doctor’s judgement, are receiving treatment for:
- the effects of cancer, or
- the effects of current or previous cancer treatment
Guidance about the extension of the list of medical conditions has been issued to doctors. It includes guidance on who the new medical exemption is intended to cover.
Exemption for renal dialysis patients
Any renal dialysis patient who has a permanent fistula (permanent means lasting indefinitely) that requires an appliance or surgical dressing, is entitled to medical exemption if they have completed application form FP92A and a doctor has signed the form to confirm the condition. Whether or not you have a permanent fistula that requires an appliance or surgical dressing is a matter for your doctor’s clinical judgement.
The criteria are met where there is a clinical need for a permanent fistula to be covered by a surgical dressing (for example between haemodialysis treatments) or by an appliance (such as a catheter for peritoneal dialysis).
Exemption for pregnant women
If you are pregnant, or have had a baby in the last 12 months, you get free:
- NHS prescriptions, but only if you have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
- NHS dental treatment if, when you are accepted for a course of treatment, you are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
To apply for your maternity exemption certificate (MatEx) ask your doctor, nurse, midwife or health visitor for form FW8. You complete parts 1 and 2 of the form and your doctor, midwife or health visitor signs it to confirm that the information given by you is correct.
Your MatEx will last until 12 months after the expected date of birth of your baby. If your baby is born early you can continue to use your MatEx until the certificate expires. If your baby is born late you can apply for an extension. If you apply after your baby is born, your MatEx will run for 12 months from your baby’s birth.
For more information on how to apply for a MatEx visit the website below.
NHS Business Services Authority
I am on a low income, how can I get help with NHS charges?
If you are on a low income you may be eligible to receive financial help through the NHS Low Income Scheme. To apply for an HC2 certificate, you should complete form HC1, which is available from Jobcentre Plus offices or most NHS hospitals. Your doctor, dentist or optician may be able to give you one, too. You can also get an HC1 form by calling 0300 123 0849
Whether you qualify for help is based on a comparison between your weekly income and assessed requirements at the time the claim is made. For more information about requirements visit NHS: help with health costs.
You will qualify for a full help HC2 certificate (which includes free NHS prescriptions) if your income is less than or equal to your requirements, or your income is greater than your requirements by no more than half the current English prescription charge.
You will qualify for a limited help HC3 certificate if your income is greater than your requirements by more than half the current English prescription charge. The HC3 certificate shows how much you have to pay towards your health costs.
Certificates are usually valid for periods of between six months and five years, depending on your circumstances.
Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) .