Regulations have today been laid before Parliament to increase certain National Health Service charges and voucher values in England from 1 April 2016.
In the 2015 Spending Review, the Government committed to support the Five Year Forward View with £10 billion investment in real terms by 2020-21 to fund frontline NHS services. Alongside this, the Government expects the NHS to deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings because we must make the best use of NHS resources.
We have increased the prescription charge by 20 pence from £8.20 to £8.40 for each medicine or appliance dispensed. 90% of prescription items are dispensed free, and this will remain the case. To ensure that those with the greatest need, and who are not already exempt from the charge, are protected we have frozen the cost of the prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) for another year. The three month PPC remains at £29.10 and the cost of the annual PPC will stay at £104. Taken together, this means prescription charge income is expected to rise broadly in line with inflation.
Charges for wigs and fabric supports will also be increased by an overall 1.7%.
The range of NHS optical vouchers available to children, people on low incomes and individuals with complex sight problems are also being increased in value. In order to continue to provide help with the cost of spectacles and contact lenses, optical voucher values will rise by an overall 1%.
Details of the revised charges for 2016-17 are attached.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: