I am announcing a freeze in prescription charges for 2010-11. The prescription charge will remain unchanged at £7.20 for each quantity of a drug or appliance dispensed. The cost of a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) will remain at £104.00 for an annual certificate. PPCs offer savings to those who need frequent prescriptions throughout the year. The cost of the three-month PPC, which is useful for those with a shorter-term need for prescription items, will remain at £28.25.
Alongside this, I am confirming that we will not be introducing any changes to the age-exemption criteria for free prescriptions in April 2010. We are considering how best to implement changes to the age at which people qualify for free prescriptions, in line with the changes to state pension age for women.
NHS dental charges will also be frozen at their current rates for the 12 months beginning 1 April 2010. The dental charge payable for a band 1 course of treatment will remain at £16.50, and the charge for a band 2 course of treatment will remain at £45.60. The charge for a band 3 course of treatment will remain, for a third year, at £198.
Charges for elastic stockings and tights, wigs and fabric supports supplied through hospitals will also remain unchanged.
The range of NHS optical vouchers available to children, people on low incomes and individuals with complex sight problems to help with the purchase of glasses also remain unchanged in 2010-11.