- Over 37,700 certificates have already been purchased following the launch of the Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC)
- As a result, over £1.13 million has been saved by women in four days alone
- Following huge demand on the website NHSBSA confirms their website is up and running
Over 37,700 certificates for HRT have been purchased already, both via the online website and in-person in pharmacies, following the launch of the new Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) prescription pre-payment certificate (PPC) on Saturday 1 April.
As a result of these new certificates, it has been estimated women have saved over £1.13 million in prescription charges for the year, with the average person saving £30 for a year’s supply.
The creation of a bespoke HRT PPC means women can access HRT as many times as they need across the year, easing pressure on supply, paying a one-off charge equivalent to two single prescription charges (£19.30) for all their HRT prescriptions. The HRT PPC can be applied for and used on or after 1 April 2023.
The new prescription pre-payment certificate is predicted to enable around 400,000 women to have cheaper access to menopause support.
On the launch of the scheme on Saturday, the huge demand for the much-anticipated certificate meant some patients were unable to access the website on the morning of 1 April. The NHS Business Service Authority has ensured that the site has been working, allowing thousands of women to continue to successfully purchase a prescription for a year’s worth of hormone replacement therapy products which help treat the menopause.
Minister for Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield said:
Over 37,700 women have come forward to claim cheaper HRT this weekend alone, showing what happens when we listen to what women want.
Delivering on our promise to make women’s health a priority comes with challenges – but it is hugely important to everyone, and I am massively proud of the work we have done.
Michael Brodie, chief executive of the NHS Business Services Authority, said:
It’s great to see how many people relying on HRT are already benefitting from a more cost-effective way of accessing it.
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.
As of 12pm today (4 April), 37,240 HRT PPCs have been bought online and 501 in-pharmacy, totalling 37,741 certificates.
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.
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.
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 affect 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.
Notes to editors:
- The NHSBSA website temporarily crashed on 1 April, due to receiving high volumes of web traffic. This was fixed shortly after.
- To access HRT PPC, please see online: to https://health-charge-exemptions.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/buy-hrt-ppc/start
How to use the new PPC
There are a few different ways to get the HRT PPC:
- online on the NHSBSA website: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/hrt-ppc
- in person at some pharmacies
- if you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you can use the textphone (or minicom) to contact the NHSBSA using the text relay service. Dial 18001 then the relevant phone number. This will be available from 25 May 2023
- the NHSBSA also offers a telephone translation service and can provide 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 prescription 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 prescriptions and HRT PPC to a pharmacy and use it as many times as you need over 12 months.
Before getting the HRT PPC:
- check that you’re not already eligible for free NHS prescriptions using the eligibility checker on the NHSBSA website
- check that your medicine is covered by the HRT PPC – see the list of eligible HRT medication
- 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