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Helping patients to pay for their healthcare

Alistair McDonald
Director of Operations

Terry Luck

Customer Service Manager
NHS Prescription Pricing Authority
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle-upon- Tyne
NE1 6SN
T:0845 850 1166
W:www.ppa.nhs.uk (NHS netsite)
w:www.ppa.org.uk(website)
The website is also the access point for all our Patient Services

You may not be aware of us, but the PPA has been around as a Special Health Authority (SpHA) longer than most - we trace our roots back to 1911. Most importantly, we look after the Help with health costs schemes available to the public in England. Formerly known as the Health Benefits Division (HBD) at the PPA, we will be relaunching the schemes under the new umbrella of Patient Services. Nurses are one of our key stakeholder groups and the most effective way of educating and communicating with the public about their entitlements. The services we offer are summarised as follows.

The Low Income Scheme (LIS)
The LIS helps people on a limited income with a range of NHS health costs. The scheme compares an individual or family's income with their needs, to calculate whether they should receive free or reduced cost NHS treatment. The assessment follows broadly the same rules as those used to assess income support, but also considers weekly expenditure for rent/mortgage and council tax.
Anyone who has capital of £8,000 or less can apply (£12,000 for people aged 60 or over). People who qualify will be sent either form HC2 entitling them to free NHS treatment or form HC3 entitling them to reduced-cost treatment. Claims are made on form HC1, obtainable from Patient Services.

Prescription Prepayment Certificates (PPC)
These certificates are available to reduce the costs of prescription for anyone who needs more than 5 items on prescription in a 4-month period, or 14 items in a year. They cost £32.90 for a 4-month certificate and £90.40 for a year. There are now a number of ways to purchase a certificate:

  • By post using form FP95.
  • Online via the PPA website.
  • Using the telephone orderline 0845 850 0030.
  • From a number of local pharmacies that sell ­certificates on behalf of the PPA (see website).

These certificates can be used for all prescription charges incurred during the period of the certificate, no matter how many charges are incurred. Therefore, they can result in considerable savings for those people who obtain a large number of prescription items.

Medical exemption certificates (Medex)
People who suffer from any of a specific list of medical conditions may apply for a certificate that will provide exemption from prescription charges. The conditions listed include;

  • Diabetes controlled by medication.
  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive ­therapy.
  • Hypoparathyroidism.

To view the full list, you should pick up leaflet HC11 available from main Post Offices or visit the PPA website. People who suffer from any of the listed conditions should fill in a form at their GP surgery; this will then be forwarded to Patient Services, and a small credit card certificate will be issued that is valid for 5 years.

Maternity exemption cards (Matex)
These are issued to pregnant women and those who have given birth in the last 12 months. Applications should be filled in by the GP, midwife or health visitor and signed by the patient. The form will be posted by the surgery to the PPA. A small plastic card will be issued, and it is valid until 12 months after the expected or the actual date of confinement.

NHS tax credit exemption certificates
Certain people who receive working tax credits and child tax credits are also exempt from NHS charges. Patient Services issue NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates on behalf of the Inland Revenue to those  entitled to them.

Conclusion
We would like your help in making more people aware of our existence so we can engage with them over the effective delivery and development of services and provide them with Help with health costs.