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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 16:51 GMT
Prescription charge to rise 10p
Prescriptions will soon cost 6.40
The cost of an NHS prescription in England and Scotland is to rise by 10p to 6.40 from April.

Ministers say the rise of 1.59% is below inflation - as it has been for the last five years.

The charges will bring in some 462m to the NHS in England alone in the coming year.

Around 85% of prescriptions are free to groups such as children, the elderly and those on benefits.

However, critics have called for a fundamental review of the current exemption system, claiming it is unfair.

In a report issued last year the Social Market Foundation said there was no logic to the current rules on who pays for medicines and who does not.

It called for sweeping changes to the current system.

These include scrapping charges for some groups of patients and forcing others, including the elderly, to pay for prescription medicines for the first time.

Dental charges

The government also said the maximum patient charge for a single course of dental treatment begun on or after April 1 would increase from 372 to 378 in England.

Charges for elastic stockings and tights, wigs and fabric supports supplied through the hospital service will be increased at similar rates to prescription charges.

In Wales, the National Assembly is committed to scrapping prescription charges. Currently, they stand at 6 per item, but will be reduced to 5 from October.

Prescription charge rises
10 Mar 03  |  Health

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