Your GP or nurse may advise you to take some medication to help you get better. There are two ways to get medication:
- You can buy everyday medication (such as paracetamol or allergy medication) for common illnesses from supermarkets or pharmacies. This is sometimes called ‘over the counter’ medicine. You can get an advice about medication from the pharmacy staff. Find out more about help you can get from a pharmacy here.
- You may be prescribed medication by a GP or nurse in your appointment. In this case, you will be given a slip of paper by the GP or nurse with the medication you need printed on it. You will then need to take this to a pharmacy to collect the medication.
You will usually have to pay for your prescription medication (this is the same rule for everybody in England). However, you might be able to get it free of charge if you are:
- Aged over 60
- Pregnant or you have a baby under 12 months old
- Living with or having treatment for certain medical conditions such as cancer and diabetes
- Claiming certain welfare benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance
Children under 16, or aged 16-18 and in full time education can also get free prescription medication.
NHS Choices has information about prescriptions and the cost:
If you’re on a low income or a member of a vulnerable group, you may be eligible to receive free prescriptions through the NHS Low Income Scheme.
People who can get free prescriptions include:
- Adults over 60
- Children under 16, or aged 16-18 and in full time education
- Women who are pregnant or have a baby under 12 months old
- People who are living with or having treatment for certain medical conditions such as cancer and diabetes
- People who claim certain welfare benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance
Find out more about who can get free prescriptions and how it works on the NHS website:
If you wish to apply for free prescriptions you will need to complete a form called an HC1.
You can get an HC1 from Jobcentre Plus or from your Doctor, dentist or optician, or by calling 0300 123 0849.
Once you have completed and returned this HC1, the NHS will decide if you are eligible for free prescriptions.
If you are eligible for free prescriptions, you will be send an HC2 Certificate. This is your proof that you do not need to pay for prescriptions.
Keep it safe and take it with you to the pharmacist whenever you go to pick up your prescriptions.