Update on campaign to reform prescription charges in England

03 November 2021

The UK government’s consultation on possible changes to prescription charges has ended and we’re awaiting their response. The UK government has proposed changes to push back the age that people can stop paying for their NHS prescriptions from 60 to 66 years old.

Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences of prescription charges and their views about how the plans might affect them.

We believe prescriptions should be free for people living with long-term conditions. Working with other charities and as part of the Prescription Charges Coalition we’ve argued against the plans and called on the UK government to urgently reform the prescription exemption criteria in England to include Crohn’s and Colitis.

You can still have your say

There is still time to show your opposition to the proposed changes.

​Please write to your MP and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 406 (EDM) to oppose this proposal.

Please share your concerns about what these changes will mean for you. For those who are nearing the age of 60 years old, and will be the first to affected by the plans if they are put in place, how will they affect you and do you feel prepared?

EDMs are used to put on record the views of individual MPs or to draw attention to specific events or campaigns. By attracting the signatures of other MPs, they can be used to demonstrate the level of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

You can see if your local MP has signed up here (please note that some MPs who are ministers or parliamentary private secretaries do not sign up to EDMs).

Please let us know how you get on and about any responses you receive by emailing policy@crohnsandcolitis.org.uk.

Why act?

We know from past research that charges 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.

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. 

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, those who are aged over 60 or under 16, pregnant women and those with specific conditions such as cancer, diabetes and epilepsy are exempt. However not all long-term conditions are included which has resulted in people who live 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.