Free Prescriptions from April 1st

Did you know that all cancer patients will be entitled to free prescriptions from 1st April? BUT, it doesn’t look like you can actually apply until that date! I have tried to get up to date info from my health centre, the NHS Business Services Authority who issue pre-payment certificate, McMillan financial advice and many other sources. Finally found info on D of H website. At last! You don’t have to be terminally ill, as it applies to all cancer patients. I don’t know if that will mean within 5 years of diagnosis or what?
Anyone else know more about it? I spoke to my GP, as my pre-pay runs out on 5th Feb, but she said she will quite happily ensure I have enough meds to last until April, but they are dragging their feet in making it known!!!
Now all we need is free hospital parking…

Is it just for cancer drugs or all drugs - and does it last forever, as breast cancer can come back and you can have side effects from treatment that need treating?

A friend at work has diabetes and he gets every prescription free

mind you it is a chronic condition. I gave up treatment ages ago admittedly partly influenced by the cost of prescriptions but not entirely - didn’t like the side effects or having to keep going to the doctors to get prescriptions


Hi All

My breast nurse mentioned that today but didn’t know if i was just, say, Arimidex, or all unrelated drugs. All will become clear but my PPC runs out in February too! Does the moderator know?

Love to all


I have had free prescriptions since summer 2007 as we are entitled to a small amount of working tax credit via our small business. I couldn’t get benefits when I was ill and only found out about tax credits by chance when I emailed MacMillan with a comment about one of their campaigns and an adviser rang me. Nobody from the IR or DWP told us this and we missed out on 8 months payments, which would have been a great help when I was ill and reliant on savings!

According to the 10 downing street website, from April 1st the government will abolish perscription charges for all cancer patients.This will mean that cancer patients will not have to pay perscription charges for any NHS perscribed medicines. I assume we will have to get an exemption ticket from our GP.

Lindiloo x

Gordon Brown said this would be done, at the last Labour party conference. Free prescriptions for cancer patients - regardless of what drugs are being prescribed.


When i picked up my prescription last week and i mentioned this. Pharmacist said he was still waiting for info ie who actually qualified, how you got your exemption card etc.

Will this apply in Scotland too?


Think it is just England, dotchas, but worth checking D o H website.

The form is the same as for other exempt conditions (diabetes, thyroid disorders etc) and you get it from your GP surgery. It is not clear how soon everyone can apply though, and surely there will be a big flurry!


hi dot

I thought you got free prescriptions in scotland anyway?This is good to hear for me though as I have to pay for tamoxifen and zoladex.

I heard on the grapevine that prescriptions were going to be free for cancer patients, but know no more. I did feel it was unfair that we had to pay for medication during treatment, as I believed that they were free if you had a life threatening illness!!! I have a PPC and pay monthly for it, so would be interested to know how it will all work and what treatment will actually be free, as I have other health issues that I take medication for to. Will thy and find out and report back.

hallo ladies, there is a little info on Macmillan site relating to this, as you have already ststed it’s not very clear at what stage in your illness this applies to


Hi , thanks for all the feedback. The free prescription forms will not be available til April apparently, but my gp gave me existing one and said just fill in ‘cancer’ under other conditions! It does not apply to what medication you are on, just like others with some long standing conditions…all your prescriptions will be free. The only slight query I have is when you stop being a cancer patient? (In a lot of cases, never!), but I guess sometimes Dr’s might state that if you have been free of cancer for 5 years, you are in remission? Don’t know, and will be interested to see how it pans out. I was quite surprised when I rang up Mcmillan financial help line to discover they were not clear about the position, especially as they campaigned for it, but it may be the Government that is keeping under wraps. Perhaps we all need to get onto our MP’s and tell THEM to find out!
Best wishes,

just read that marge,it seems like not every cancer patient is going to get free prescriptions.oh, burst my bubble then…thought i was going to save some money,I had an arguement a while back with someone whose sister is on methadone,which in my eyes is a self induced addiction,where as those of us who have or had cancer have to pay…of course she got the methadone free as she was not working,makes me laugh the rules in this country.

I agree with you debbi that it’s not fair on who gets these free prescriptions.
My cousin and his wife decided to give up smoking and got those patches from their GP on a free prescription and they both work
while I have to pay for my tamox every three months for five years.
Hope I qualify for the free ones.

Prescriptions are not free yet in Scotland ,there is a reducing charge over a few years and then they will be free.

I recently asked about this at my local GP pharmacy and they knew nothing about it. They said the BBC probably knows more than we do!! We will be the last to know!!! Very helpful.

Just my luck…I get to 60 and free prescriptions anyway two weeks before they’re free for cancer patients.

So I’m old enuf to remember the glorious 50s when prescriptions were free for everyone.


I remember when the prescription charge was brought in and it was 20p.

I think it was before that…I remember a shilling in old money!