The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that from 1st May 2024, the NHS prescription charge will increase to £9.90 per prescription item (note: some items may incur more than one charge). For prescriptions dispensed in April 2024, the NHS prescription charge will remain at £9.65.

Amendments to the National Health Service (Charges for Drugs and Appliances) Regulations have been laid before Parliament which introduces changes not just for the NHS prescription charge but also for prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs), including the Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) PPC.

The cost of a three-month PPC will become £32.05, whilst a 12-month PPC is increasing to £114.50. PPCs offer savings for those needing any four or more prescription items in three months, or 12 or more items in a year.

The more specific HRT PPC will also increase to £19.80. Note, this PPC can only be used when a patient is prescribed a listed HRT medicine. Patients can check the NHSBSA website for an up-to-date list of HRT medicines covered by the HRT PPC.

Prescription charge type
Previous charge (up to 30th April 2024)
New charge (1st May 2024 onwards)
Increase of

Single charge (per prescription item)

HRT PPC (valid for 12 months)

3-month PPC

12-month PPC

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy England, said:

“Yet again community pharmacies must be the bearers of bad news as the Government decides to raise the NHS prescription charge. As the cost of living continues to put strain on the most vulnerable in society, many patients will have to make unbearable decisions about which medicines they can afford to pay for.

We remain opposed to the charge: it is a tax on the vulnerable and one which forces pharmacy teams to act as tax collectors on top of the intolerable wider pressures that community pharmacy is facing.”


Community Pharmacy England has produced the following posters to support community pharmacies in displaying the new prescription charge (effective from 1st May).

Prescription Charge Card 2024/25 (colour)

Prescription Charge Card 2024/25 (black and white)

PPC Poster 2024/25 (colour)

PPC Poster 2024/25 (black and white)


Q. Do I need to display a notice about the NHS prescription charge?

Yes, it is part of the NHS Terms of Service to have an up to date notice about the NHS prescription charge displayed in the prescription reception area. For further information, please see the clinical governance premises approved particulars. Using Community Pharmacy England’s Prescription Charge Card can help meet this requirement whilst also informing patients that your pharmacy only collects (and doesn’t keep) this money, as well as raising awareness of the poor state of community pharmacy funding.

Q. If a prescription was dispensed before the 1st May but the patient does not collect items until after the 1st May, should the patient pay the old, or the new prescription charge rate?

There is no national guidance on this issue so pharmacy staff will be required to exercise their professional judgement. Whatever decision is taken, pharmacy staff are advised to keep a record of the amount charged and the reasons for doing so on the PMR. Please note the prescription charge rate is not determined by the date that the GP has prescribed or signed the prescription form.

Q. For EPS, how do the NHSBSA determine which prescription charge rate to apply if a paid prescription dispensed in April is submitted for payment in May?

Any paid electronic prescriptions dispensed in April 2024 with an NHS prescription charge levied at the old charge rate (£9.65) will have a charge deduction of £9.65 applied by the NHSBSA if the Dispense Notification (DN) message is submitted before 30 April 2024 and the corresponding Claim Notification or Electronic Reimbursement Endorsement Message (EREM) is received by the NHSBSA by the end of 5 May 2024. Please see below how paid electronic prescriptions are treated by the NHSBSA following a change to the prescription charge rate.

If a DN is submitted on 30 April and EREM is received by NHSBSA by 5 May – this would be treated as April dispensing (£9.65 deducted for chargeable scripts)
If a DN is submitted on 1 May and EREM is received by NHSBSA by 5 May – this would be treated as May dispensing (£9.90 deducted for chargeable scripts)
If a DN is submitted on 30 April and EREM is received by NHSBSA on or after 6 May – this would be treated as April dispensing (£9.90 deducted for chargeable scripts). There would be no checking of the dispense date in this instance as the claim message was submitted would be outside of the first five days of the following month (EPS 5-day window).

Related resources

What does the patient pay?

Exemptions from the prescription charge

Prescription charge refund procedure

Community Pharmacy England HRT PPC medicines list poster

Medicines covered by the HRT PPC (NHSBSA website)

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