Over a million patients in England paid more than they needed to for NHS prescriptions last year, according to data obtained by the UK’s biggest consumer website, MoneySavingExpert.com. Patients could have saved an average of over £35 by getting a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC).
In the 2018/19 financial year figures disclosed by the NHS under the Freedom of Information Act show that 1,042,008 paid for at least 12 prescription items over this period – meaning they would have made a saving had they bought an annual PPC. At the time, prescription items cost £8.80, so each patient paid at least £105.60.
On average those who paid for 12 or more items actually bought around 16 items each – meaning the average saving with a certificate would have been over £35.
The number of patients missing out on cheaper prescriptions rose by more than 200,000 people compared to 2017/18, partly because the cost of individual prescription items has risen whilst the cost of the certificate has stayed the same. The number of certificates bought also rose year-on-year, and stood at over 2,250,000 in 2018/19.
Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “These figures show that an increasing number of patients are paying more than they need to for medicine and other items prescribed on the NHS.
“While the NHS has worked hard to promote these ‘season tickets’ in recent months, it’s clear there’s still a real lack of awareness and it must do all it can to make sure all those that need the scheme can take advantage of it.”