Have your say: Plans to increase qualifying age for free prescriptions in England

19 August 2021

The UK government is consulting on plans to push back the age that people can stop paying for their NHS prescriptions from 60 to 66. Currently, England is the only country in the UK that charges people for the vital medicine that they need to stay well.  

We know from past research that this can disadvantage people with Crohn’s and Colitis because the conditions fluctuate, and medication is needed long-term. The cost can lead to people having to make impossible choices about medication, food or heating costs.   

As part of the Prescription Charges Coalition, a group of more than 40 organisations, we have been calling for people with long-term conditions, such as Crohn’s and Colitis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, to be exempted from prescription charges.  Prescription charges place an additional burden on people with long-term conditions, who may be on multiple medications, especially as they get older.  It has also been shown to be an ineffective way to raise money for the NHS as it leads to people not collecting or taking medication they really need to stay well and becoming more ill as a result. 

Share your story 

Will this affect you or someone in your family who has Crohn’s or Colitis?  If so, we’d really like to hear from you to help inform the Prescription Charges Coalition response to the consultation and any opportunities to raise this issue in the media.  Please email policy@crohnsandcolitis.org.uk by Wednesday 25th August.

Write to your MP 

Email your MP through this simple Prescription Charges Coalition campaign action

Have your say 

The government is asking the public and healthcare professionals to comment on the options proposed before the 2nd September 2021.  You can share your views directly with the government by responding via their consultation webpage here

About prescription charges in England 

Currently, people in England pay a standard £9.35 for every item on an NHS prescription or can purchase an annual or three-month NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate. Prescriptions are free in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

In England over-60s, under-16s, pregnant women and those with specific condition such as cancer, diabetes and epilepsy are exempt. However not all long-term conditions are included which has resulted in people living with Crohn's and Colitis paying for medications that keep them well.  Find out more about who is entitled to free prescriptions

Learn more about our work to increase access to medicines and health technologies here