Free prescriptions for us from the 1st of April

Hi – wanted to repeat the info about free prescriptions for us here, in case some of us don’t look at the “current issues/hot topics” threads.

The BBC website reports:

“Gordon Brown announced in September he was abolishing charges for the treatment of cancer and its effects from 1 April. Patients can apply for five-year exemption certificates entitling them to all their NHS prescriptions free of charge, not just those for cancer. Application forms can be collected from GP surgeries and hospital clinics. Applications received by 24 March will be processed in time for the start of the scheme on 1 April. Patients who do not receive their certificate in time may have any prescription charges they have paid since 1 April refunded.”

So . . . it’s off to our GP surgeries or hospitals to get the forms, fill them in and submit them in time for the 1st of April.

Marilyn x

Thanks Marilyn!


Just to let you know that Breast Cancer Care has been campaigning for free prescriptions for people affected by cancer since 2006. We are delighted with the details that have emerged today for people with cancer in England.

The information that we have is:

• Exemption certificates cover all prescriptions, not just those for cancer treatments
• Certificates last for 5 years. They can be renewed after this time if you are still undergoing treatment for:
o Cancer (includes tamoxifen or other hormonal treatments and prescription of lymphoedema garments)
o The effects of cancer (includes pain relief and effects directly related to cancer that did not exist before the cancer diagnosis such as a change in mental health)
o The effects of cancer treatment (includes all side effects of chemotherapy or late effects caused by radiation)

Refunds and applying for certificates:
• The certificates will not be valid until 1 April 2009. However you can apply for certificates from 9th Feb. It has been reported that the health Minister, Dawn Primarolo is urging patients to go to their GPs from this week to get the form signed. We would encourage everyone to visit their GPs to get hold of the form.
• After 1 April, if you are still waiting for your exemption certificate, you should ask the dispenser for an NHS receipt (FP57) (which is also a refund claim form) when you pay a prescription charge – refunds will then be backdated to the 1 April 2009.
• People who are aged 60 and over are exempt from NHS prescription charges on age grounds and do not need to apply for the certificate.
• People who are exempt because they are receiving a relevant benefit e.g. income support, may wish to apply for a medical exemption certificate so they are covered if their financial circumstances change.

This information for England will be updated on the web pages shortly. More information about Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is here:

but in short,

WALES – they are still free
NORTHERN IRELAND – reduced to £3 per item. They will be completely abolished by 2010.
SCOTLAND – reduced to £5 per item. They will go down to £4 per item from 1 April 2009 and will be reduced until phased out in April 2011.

You can also call our helpline for more information – 0808 800 6000

Best wishes,

Laura, Policy and Campaigns team.


Thanks for posting the details of ‘what we need to do’

Sue x

Fantastic news!!! :slight_smile:

Best news I have heard in a long time how do we go about it? : - )

Hi Dudley – get an application form from your GP or hospital, then complete and return it before the end of March to get your exemption in time for the 1st of April.

M x

Do you have to have cancer now or be receiving chemo etc
I had cancer in feb 2007 but am on arimidex.
Does that entitle me to get free drugs?

yes it does - it is a treatment you are having to prevent the cancer returning. you can also get prescriptions if you have depression or other illnesses connected with the cancer - at the moment I’m not taking any medication but that’s partly because I didn’t want to pay for tamoxifen - I finished taking it 2.5 years early - it’s probably too late now to go back on it


I received my prescription exemption card today - the MacMillan nurse organised this through the hospice - so I should imagine that everyone with secondaries can get an exemption card anyway. I didn’t know I was entitled to this until the nurse gave me the form to sign and she sent it off a couple of weeks ago. So if you have a MacMillan nurse it might be worth asking and you could get free prescriptions before April.


Just out of interest, is the expemption certificate/card issued by a particular GP practice or is it generic - I am moving shortly and will have to change surgery but would like to arrange this with my current practice beforehand.



I went to docs for application form for cert today only to be told that they do not have the new forms and have no idea when they will be in so I would ring before you go down. Also NHS sites are advising that it is not necessary to make an appointment to see the doctor.


Hi - great news and about time

I purchased a 1 year pre payment certificate in Niv which cost over £100. Will I be able to obtain a refund from April?


Hi , as soon as someone knows would you be so kind as to tell us what the Form number will be ?

I went to my GP surgery today (i guess they are not available yet) but the receptionist had no idea what I was talking about . It would be easier to go and request the form by its code/number .


I went to my GP yesterday who told me I had to get the form from the pharmacy or dispensary. Pharmacy knew all about the forms but said they were waiting to receive them, which should be by the end of the month. Then need to leave it at the surgery for the GP to sign.

I also went to gp surgery this morning to pick up a form and they didn’t have a clue what i was talking about!! They haven’t had any information about it at all.

They told me to leave it with them and they will ring me if they can get hold of one!!!

Mine didnt know either!! So thay got me to fill in an Exemption form for people with diabetes/thyroid etc and said they will use that!!

hi the NHS website says form FP92A new version to be used from 9th Feb. x

My gp used the existing form FP92A and just drew a little box with a tick in it and put the word cancer beside it!!! Then the surgery send it off, apparently, signed and stamped with surgery stamp.


You are quite right ritajeanb. I think we are all so excited that we can’t wait. Jaxw, my GPs said that they couldn’t use the existing form as it would be discarded. The article actually says that the forms will be sent out in Feb, you can apply from 9th Feb and that those received before 24th March, I think, would be processed in time.

Sorry if I misled anyone