After months of campaigning by menopause advocates like Carolyn Harris MP and the Menopause Mandate group (of which Hylda is a part), an NHS prepayment certificate for HRT prescriptions is available from April 1 2023.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new certificate and how to apply for yours.
What is the NHS prepayment certificate?
Known as the HRT PPC, the prepayment certificate is a welcome response to calls from campaigners like Carolyn Harris MP to make HRT more widely available by taking away the financial barriers that many women face.
For an annual fee, women will no longer need to pay for individual HRT prescriptions. The certificate will cover all eligible HRT prescriptions, no matter how many different types of HRT you need. There’s no limit on the number of HRT prescription items you can get with it while it’s valid.
READ MORE HRT, is it safe? Everything you need to know.
Testosterone prescriptions will not be covered by the certificate.
How much is an NHS prepayment certificate?
From April 1 2023, menopausal women in England will be able to collect their HRT prescriptions for £19.30 per year. The one-off annual payment will replace their usual prescription charges, which are currently £9.65 for a single prescription.
In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, prescriptions are already free of charge.
The new HRT prepayment certificate is the equivalent of two prescription charges. This is a significant saving for women who are currently having to pay a separate £9.65 charge for each of their various types of HRT patches, gels and tablets. It can really add up.
What does the new prepayment HRT certificate mean for women?
The new prepayment has been welcomed by the UK’s leading menopause campaigners, including the acclaimed menopause expert and Hylda contributor Dr Louise Newson.
“This is a step in the right direction,” says Dr Newson. “Other hormones are freely available on the NHS to anyone so HRT should ideally be no different.
“Research has shown that women living in more deprived areas are less likely to be prescribed HRT. There are many health benefits from taking HRT, including reducing future risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, which many perimenopausal and menopausal women are missing out from.
READ MORE What are the 34 menopause symptoms?
“There are too many barriers for women to access menopause treatment and the cost of HRT is one so I hope this will really make a difference.”
Dr Newson’s view is echoed by Professor Dame Lesley Regan, the women’s health ambassador for England.
“Making HRT easier to access will significantly improve the lives of many women who choose to use it, enabling them to reach their full potential,” says Professor Regan.
“Many women do not realise that they are going through the menopause. Helping to make them aware about the inevitability of becoming menopausal is an important first step. The next step is improving awareness that HRT may be an option to help women manage this stage of their life course.”
READ MORE What is the difference between perimenopause and menopause?
How do I get the HRT prepayment certificate?
After a significant tech fail on April 1 when the new system was launched – the NHS website crashed – you can now apply for your certificate online here.
The process only takes a couple of minutes, and you can save a digital copy of your prepaid certificate. Your certificate is still valid for use on the day it expires.
Anything else I need to know?
When collecting your HRT prescription, tick box ‘W’ for HRT PPCs on the back of your prescription.
Not all prescription forms have a tick box for HRT PPCs. If that is the case tick box ‘F’ for Prescription Prepayment Certificate.
You will need to show your HRT PPC when collecting your prescriptions. If you do not have your certificate details, the pharmacy will check the box ‘Evidence not seen’ on the back of your prescription. You will not be charged.