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Thursday 29 September 2016
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O'Brien reveals freeze on prescription charges in England

Health Minister Mike O'Brien has revealed prescription charges and NHS dental charges in England will be frozen in 2010/11.

It means the prescription charges will remain at £7.20 per item throughout the year.

The cost of a pre-payment certificate, which allows for unlimited prescriptions over the course of 12 months, will remain £104, while a three-month certificate will still cost £28.25.

As a review into prescription charges is due to be published by the government, calls have been made to scrap them altogether.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the charges are unfair.

In Wales, prescriptions are free, and from next month, that will also be the case in Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, charges are set to be scrapped by 2011.

Mr O'Brien (pictured) said there would be no changes this year to the upper age limit at which people can get free prescriptions.

Over a 10-year period, the retirement age for women is changing to 65, bringing it into line with that for men.

The government is looking at how prescription charging may change in the future to match this new retirement age for women.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "The level of the prescription charge is considered annually.

"This year, in light of the overall low inflation rates during the past 12 months, there will be no increase in NHS prescription and dental charges and optical voucher values."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply):

"I think prescription charges are far too high. Those who are working pay NI in their salary – why should we pay again to subsidise those who are not working? Should only have to pay for one prescription not per item" – Derek Gaulter, Lancashire

"If the United Kingdom is truly united why is England the only country within it to continue to levy prescription charges?" – Sandra Gray, Hampshire