Prescription charges to be raised to £7.85

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Prescription charges in England will rise 20p to £7.85 from April 1 under changes announced by ministers.

Health Minister Earl Howe said NHS dental charges will also increase on the same date.

In a written statement to Parliament, he said the cost of a prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) would remain unchanged.

Earl Howe said the cost of a three-month PPC would stay at £29.10 for another year, with an annual PPC unchanged at £104.

“PPCs offer savings for those needing four or more items in three months or 14 or more items in one year,” he said.

Charges for a band 1 course of dental treatment will rise 50p to £18, band 2 will increase by £1 to £49 and the cost of band 3 will rise by £5 to £214.

The minister said: “Dental charges represent an important contribution to the overall cost of dental services.

“The exact amount raised will be dependent upon the level and type of primary dental care services commissioned by the NHS Commissioning Board and the proportion of charge-paying patients who attend dentists and the level of treatment they require.”

Charges for wigs and fabric supports will be increased by an overall 2.5 per cent.

The value of NHS optical vouchers will increase by one per cent “in order to continue to provide help with the cost of spectacles and contact lenses”, Earl Howe said.