Dental charges and NHS prescriptions increase in April
The price of buying NHS prescription medication and having NHS dental treatments will increase in April in England.
It has been announced by the government that a 25 pence price rise will be added to prescriptions, taking the cost up to £7.65.
Meanwhile the price of a routine dental check-up will go up by 50 pence to £17.50, with the cost of more complex dental procedures increasing by up to £5.
These changes will be implemented from 1 April 2012.
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"Dental charges represent an important contribution to the overall cost of dental services,” said Health Minister Simon Burns, who confirmed the changes.
“The exact amount raised will be dependent upon the level and type of primary care trusts and the proportion of charge-paying patients who attend dentists and the level of treatment they require.”
From April procedures such as fillings and root canal work will cost £48 (a £1 increase) and the £5 increase will mean crowns, bridges and dentures will cost £209.
Meanwhile, the changes to prescription charges have attracted criticism from the British Medical Association (BMA).
A BMA spokesperson said: “It's unfair for patients as whether you pay depends not only on what part of the UK you live in, but also on what kind of condition you have.
“The bureaucracy to administer the charging and exemption regime is also cumbersome and costly. The BMA believes it would be best to abolish prescription charges in England altogether.”
Patients in England will be the only ones affected by the prescription price hike – those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can receive prescriptions for free.
However, the price of a prescription payment certificate (PPC), a popular option for those requiring multiple medications, is set to stay the same at £29.10 for a three month certificate and £104 for an annual option.
“PPCs offer savings for those needing four or more items in three months or 14 or more items in one year,” Burns said.
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