The press release issued by the Department of Health and Social Care on 1 April 2023.
From 1 April women in England will be able to access cheaper Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help with menopause symptoms.
- New HRT prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) will help around 400,000 women save hundreds of pounds annually, with costs reduced to less than £20 a year
- The certificate is available to get online or in some pharmacies, and can be used as many times as needed across the year
Women experiencing symptoms of the menopause can now access cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – the main treatment for menopause symptoms – helping to save hundreds of pounds in prescription charges.
The new HRT prepayment certificate (PPC) being rolled out today (1 April) will reduce prescription costs to just £19.30 per year and can be used against a list of eligible HRT items which includes patches, tablets and topical preparations. Patients can use the HRT PPC as many times as they need across the year.
Making HRT more accessible, by reducing the cost, is one of the ways the government is making menopause support more readily available to women, alongside working with suppliers to encourage and support HRT supply to meet growing demand.
Health and Social Secretary Steve Barclay said:
Menopause care is essential healthcare, and we are ensuring cost is no longer a barrier to women getting the medicines they need.
Better access to HRT will improve the lives of millions and gives women the freedom to take control of their symptoms.
We’ve rightly put women’s health at the top of the agenda through our Women’s Health Strategy – and continue to deliver on our commitments.
Minister for Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield said:
Since we launched the Women’s Health Strategy last summer, we have made great progress in raising the profile of health issues affecting women, including symptoms of the menopause.
Often its necessary to use more than one type of HRT, and many women I have spoken to needed to try a few different types to get the right medication that works for them.
Everyone is different, and price should not be a barrier to treatment – reducing the price of a year’s worth of HRT to under £20 is a huge moment of levelling the playing field.
Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Women’s Health Ambassador for England said:
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 .
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.
Helen Simmons, a woman who is benefitting from the scheme:
As an enthusiastic supporter of any advance in menopause care I think the HRT PPC is a great start to helping women access good care and support.
I will definitely benefit from buying an HRT PPC as I currently have multiple HRT prescriptions every three months, with the majority being on the list that the PPC will cover.
The application for the certificate was easy to navigate online and I have already shared information about it on my social media pages.
HRT is a safe and effective treatment for most women going through menopause and perimenopause. It can help relieve menopause and perimenopause symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, brain fog, joint pains, mood swings and vaginal dryness.
Taking HRT can also reduce the risk of hormone-related health problems including osteoporosis and heart disease.
Michael Brodie, chief executive of the NHS Business Services Authority, which delivers the HRT PPC service on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, said:
We are proud to be delivering the HRT PPC, which is a great addition to the range of NHS services we offer to help people manage their health costs. It is so important that those who rely on HRT have a more cost-effective way of accessing it.
The NHS England National Menopause Care Improvement Programme is working to improve clinical menopause care in England and reduce disparities in access to treatment. The NHS is also developing an education and training package on menopause for healthcare professionals.
The introduction of the HRT PPC delivers one of our year 1 priorities for the Women’s Health Strategy for England. Published last summer, the strategy sets out an ambitious new agenda for improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls, and to improve how the health and care system listens to women. Menopause was announced as a priority area within the strategy.
To ensure all women get the support they need, we recently announced a £25 million investment in women’s health hubs. Women’s health hubs provide integrated services for women in the community, enabling easier access to essential women’s health services such as menstrual health, contraception, pelvic pain and menopause care.
Menopause can impact all areas of a woman’s life, we recently appointed Helen Tomlinson as the government’s first Menopause Employment Champion – and have awarded grant funding to charities across England to help employers make changes to their workplace to support women’s reproductive health, which includes menopause.
How to use the new PPC:
- There are a few different ways to get the HRT PPC:
- Online on the NHS Business Service Authority website www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/hrt-ppc
- In person at some pharmacies
- If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can use the textphone (or minicom) to contact the NHS Business Services Authority using the Text Relay service. Dial 18001 then the relevant phone number. This will be available from 25 May.
- The NHS Business Services Authority also offers a telephone translation service and can provider documents in large print or Braille on request.
- Patients can call 0300 330 2089 for help and support.
- To use your HRT PPC, ask your prescriber for your HRT items on a separate prescriptions to any other medicines you are prescribed (one prescription per item). This is to ensure the prescription can be processed correctly at the pharmacy.
- Take your prescription(s) and HRT PPC to a pharmacy and use it as many times as you need over 12 months.
To be aware before getting the HRT PPC:
- Check that you’re not already eligible for free NHS prescriptions using the eligibility checker on the NHS BSA website.
- Check that your medicine is covered by the HRT PPC. For a list of eligible HRT medication, visit: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/help-nhs-prescription-costs/nhs-hormone-replacement-therapy-prescription-prepayment-certificate-hrt-ppc/medicines-covered-hrt-ppc
- Check whether a 3 or 12 month general PPC is more suitable for you. It covers all NHS prescriptions, not just HRT items, and may be more cost effective if you are prescribed other medicines as well as HRT. Visit: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppc
- The HRT PPC will be valid for 12 months and there is no limit on the number of times the certificate is used before it expires. You don’t need to get it on 1 April – get it just before your next prescription to maximise your use of it over the year.