Many of our adult members have prescriptions for medicines, catheters and / or stoma bags every month. With the prescription charges in England now at £9 per item, these can really add up.  Prescriptions in Wales are free for all, but England has a complex set of charge exemption criteria.

Prescriptions are free for: 
  • Children under 16 
  • Young people 16-18 years old in full time education 
  • Adults aged 60 or over 
  • Women who are pregnant, or who had a baby in the past 12 months (with a MatEx form) 
  • Adults on certain income related benefits 

For more information on who can get help with prescription charges see:   

The NHS has a useful tool for checking whether you need to pay, see:   


Exemption on medical grounds is possible for some people with long term health conditions, but not all. 

 If you have: 

  • a permanent stoma needing a dressing or bag (colostomy or ileal conduit, for example) 
  • epilepsy needing continuous medication 
  • diabetes needing medication, (not managed by diet alone) 
  • a long term physical disability which makes it necessary to have someone with you to go out, or certain other health conditions. 

For exemption on medical grounds, you will need to apply for a MedEx form. For information about who qualifies and how to apply for medical exemption see:  

For people with qualifying conditions, all your prescriptions will be free, not just those connected with your long-term condition.  Shine believes everyone with long-term health conditions needing frequent prescriptions in order to stay well should be exempt, and are members of the Prescription Charges Coalition, which campaigns to end this inequality. Read more at:  

Having spina bifida or hydrocephalus does not automatically qualify you for free prescriptions, and the NHS are fining people who claim they don’t need to pay when they should. 

If you need to pay for your prescriptions, and have two items or more per month, a Prescription Prepayment Certificate could save you money. You can prepay for 3 months (£29.10) or 12 months (£104, or 10 Direct Debit Payments or £10.40 per month), and this will cover the cost of all your prescriptions during this time. 

For information about Prepayment Certificates see: 
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