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Could you save money with a NHS prescription season ticket?

Written by: Emma Lunn
More than a million patients in England paid more than they needed to for prescriptions last year by not having a NHS prescription payment certificate. (MSE) put in a Freedom of Information Act to the NHS to find out how many patients paid for 12 or more prescriptions during the 2019/20 financial year.

The data showed that 1,058,147 people paid for 12 or more prescribed items in the 12-month period. The money saving website says these patients could have saved an average of £40 with an NHS prescription payment certificate.

A prescription payment certificate cost £104 for 12 months in 2019/20 and covered all the prescriptions needed by an individual.

Bought individually, a prescription item cost £9 in England during the 2019/20 financial year, meaning 12 prescriptions would set you back £108.

On average, those who paid for 12 items or more actually bought about 16 items each – meaning the average saving with a prescription payment certificate would have been £40.

According to MSE, the number of people who could have saved by buying an annual prescription payment certificate has steadily risen for each of the past five years, and it’s the second year running that more than a million people could have saved with one.

The prescription charge in England is now £9.15 per item, after going up in April this year. The annual prescription payment certificate also went up in price and now costs £105.90, but will still save cash for those who pay for 12 or more prescription items each year.

A three-month prescription payment certificate is also available. It costs £29.65 and will save you money if you pay for more than three prescribed items in three months.

Steve Nowottny, news and investigations editor at, said: “These figures show a huge number of patients are paying more than they need to for medicine and other items prescribed on the NHS.

“Of course, it’s sometimes impossible to predict if you’ll need a prescription, and if people fall unexpectedly ill that may be unavoidable in some cases. Yet there will be many, for example those with chronic illness, who will be aware they’ll likely need to pay for lots of prescriptions – and as a rule, if you pay for a prescription more than once a month, a prescription payment certificate will likely cut the cost.

“While the NHS has tried to promote these ‘season tickets’, there are clearly many who aren’t aware they can save – so more must be done to ensure patients aren’t unnecessarily overpaying.”

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