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Children and young people under the age of 19 in full time education get help with most healthcare costs. But costs can increase, for example if visiting appointments regularly then using car parking, or replacing equipment. There are some schemes to help with these costs.

Help with prescription costs

Some groups are automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions. Others can apply for certificates that entitle them to free NHS prescriptions.  This can include the following:

  • aged under 16
  • aged 16-18 and in full-time education
  • are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
  • have a specified medical condition
  • have a continuing physical disability that prevents you going out without help from another person
  • are an NHS inpatient
  • are receiving or dependant upon someone receiving certain benefits

There’s a simple way to find out if you’re eligible for free NHS prescriptions and any help with other NHS costs. Use the eligibility checker and apply for a medical exemption certificate or maternity exemption certificate.

Some prescribed items are always free, including contraceptives and medication given to hospital inpatients. Your prescriber can give you more information.

If you aren’t eligible for free NHS prescriptions then a prescription prepayment certificate can help spread the cost.

NHS Low Income Scheme

If you have a low income, the NHS Low Income Scheme could help you pay for:

  • NHS prescription charges
  • NHS dental treatment charges
  • the cost of sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • the cost of travelling to receive NHS treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports (check with your hospital for their arrangements for supplying NHS wigs)

Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme

You may be able to claim a refund under the ‘Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme’ (HTCS) of the cost of travelling to hospital or other NHS premises for NHS-funded treatment or diagnostic test arranged by a doctor or dentist.

VAT relief for disabled people

If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, you will not be charged VAT on products designed or adapted for your own personal or domestic use.

Hospital car parking

Parking can be an added stress when visiting hospital. Costs soon mount up for frequent visitors.

Hospitals do provide free of charge parking for some groups of people. Each hospital has it’s own rules but often covers those who are critically ill, parents staying overnight with sick children, or disabled people. See each hospital’s website below for more information about their parking exemptions.

Last reviewed: October 9, 2023 by Sophie

Next review due: April 9, 2024

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