Free NHS prescriptions for those on Thyroid meds

I'm going to add in a tip: I just received my 5 year NHS exemption from prescription charges, which is available to all who are on meds for Thyroid for more than three months. Perhaps people are already aware, but if not it is really easy to apply for. Just fill out a very short form at your GP's & they send it off if you're entitled to claim.

14 Replies

  • Thank you for the reminder and some UK members may not be aware :)

  • I'd also advise forum members to be persistent if they meet any opposition to their exemption claim from the NHS Business Services Authority. I had my certificate withdrawn for several years, after a thorough ticking-off over the phone from an official. I'd explained that I was sourcing my own thyroid medication, and that I was not asking the NHS to pay my private prescription charges, but I was told very firmly that my entitlement had ended.

    It took about three years, and an appeal to someone higher up the chain to get the charges exemption reinstated. I thought my experience was a one-off, and that it happened only because the official I spoke to had misinterpreted the rules, but I've since heard of other cases of people being intimidated into withdrawing their claims.

  • I didn't realise we could get an exemption if we were self-medicating! I spend a fortune on prescriptions because I need three for chronic pain. I was planning on getting an annual pre-payment certificate to cut the costs but haven't done so yet.

  • Hillwoman will correct me if I'm wrong, but if I recall correctly, the criteria is that you have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism on your medical records. I don't think it's dependent on you actually taking NHS prescribed thyroid medication.

    So all your other NHS prescribed medications should be free, regardless of what you take for your diagnosed hypothyroidism.

    That said, it may not necessarily be easy to get a GP signature on the exemption form if you're not on repeat thyroxine prescriptions!

  • I did get a few prescriptions for levothyroxine back in 2013 after I begged for help for what was diagnosed as "subclinical hypothyroidism".

    I think if I tried to get an exemption certificate now I'd have to prove my TSH was over the range. I did come off all thyroid meds for about three months in 2014 but my TSH never rose as high as it was a year earlier (and had been over the range for a few years), before treatment. I'm not prepared to risk it and make my health a lot worse again.

  • Totally understand not taking the risk. Once you hit sixty, you get free scripts anyway of course. Alternatively, move to Scotland or Wales where you don't need exemption certs. It's only NHS England that charges!

  • RedApple You're quite correct: with a hypo-T diagnosis one is entitled to free NHS prescriptions, regardless of what is prescribed.

    I do have a formal diagnosis, but I did very badly on levo for more than 20 years, so I consulted Dr BP and started self-treatment with his supervision. Not long afterwards, my exemption certificate expired and the problem I described came up on renewal. It was a misinterpretation of the exemption rules.

  • It was a misinterpretation of the exemption rules.... by some over extended little popinjay who ruined your day and doubtless took pleasure in it. Little sh*t.

    Thanks for the reminder Hillwoman. My own exemption certificate comes up next year and I recall it is the diagnosis not the treatment giving sway to 'free' scripts. Useful for my remaining high blood pressure (although better than it was..) and need for prozac (ditto) which is now also 'free' ameliorating the cost of my NDT/T3 which I fund myself.

    Here's the full nine yards -

  • Useful link, Rapunzel. :-)

  • Perhaps this is why it is so hard to get diagnosed with thyroid problems even though I have nearly every single symptom on thyroiduk list and TSH is 6.90. Is it just medical profession trying to save money?

  • Except...

    Same occurs in all four home countries seemingly evenly regardless of the different prescription payment regime in England;

    Much the same happens in countries with very different funding/payment regimes;

    The apparent savings are almost certainly more than offset by the costs of investigating (unsuccessfully) and treating (unsuccessfully) other conditions which are simply other manifestations of low thyroid;

    Half the time lack of treatment is suggested to be dictated by big pharma in order to sell more non-thyroid medicines.

    The clincher for my diagnosis (and at the merest fraction over the local top of TSH range) was a set of TSH test results showing a steady rise over many months.

  • I have had a steady rise of TSH and symptoms over several years but I have never seen a doctor or consultant who takes notice of me and tries to put the onus back on my weight or treat me for mental illness. The only health professional who has seemingly believed I have hypothyroidism is a practice nurse who looked at me and said from my puffiness of eyes and face and taking account my symptoms she said she thought I had hypothyroidism. Even though she wrote her concerns on my notes GPs are still avoiding this.

  • I was told by my friend who works at a pharmacist that I could claim exemption from NHS prescription charges after being on thyroid meds for more than 3 months. I had an annual pre pay cert as I was already taking 6 lots of meds for other long term health conditions.

    I must admit that it took me almost a year to get round to applying though & it came through within a week of my filling in the form at my GP's (I just called in to reception & did it there and then. No appointment needed)

  • Perhaps he was mixing it up with diabetes. If you are diabetic on medication you get an exemption certificate, if you have been diagnosed diabetic but are not on any medication you do not.

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