10 conditions automatically qualify for free NHS prescriptions – full list of exemptions

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One way people can save hundreds of pounds over the course of a year is to check whether they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to. NHS prescriptions cost £9.35 per item, which works out at £112 a year if someone relies on them every month, yet millions of Britons with certain conditions should get them for free.

Britons with certain medical conditions usually qualify for free NHS prescriptions so it’s worth checking the list.

According to the NHS website, Britons should receive a Medical Exemption Certificate if they have:

  • Cancer, including the effects of cancer or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment
  • A permanent fistula (for example, a laryngostomy, colostomy, ileostomy or some renal dialysis fistulas) requiring continuous surgical dressing or an appliance
  • A form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison’s disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential
  • Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myxoedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy
  • A continuing physical disability that means you cannot go out without the help of another person (temporary disabilities do not count, even if they last for several months).

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Britons who suffer from anything on the list above should automatically receive a certificate through the post which shows they are exempt.

If they haven’t, they can apply for an exemption certificate on the NHS website.

It could also mean they are entitled to free dental care and glasses.

Meanwhile, low income families on some state benefits should also qualify for free NHS prescriptions depending on their earnings.

As a rough guide, families whose income does not exceed £15,276 would usually qualify for this extra help.

In total, there are 15 groups of people who qualify for free NHS prescriptions including those with a medical exemption.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said lots of people are exempt from paying for their prescriptions.

They said: “Around 90 percent of community prescriptions in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60, or have certain medical conditions.”

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Who qualifies for free NHS prescriptions?

  • People under 16
  • Anyone aged 60 or over
  • People aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • Pregnant mothers, or anyone who has had a baby in the previous 12 months and has a valid maternity exemption certificate
  • Those who are registered disabled
  • An NHS inpatient
  • People in receipt of Income Support
  • Anyone in receipt of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Those in receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Applicants in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Some Universal Credit claimants
  • Some people claiming child tax credits or working tax credits
  • Those in receipt of a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)
  • Anyone living in Scotland
  • People living in Wales.

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