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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

Drug Tariff News

A New Patient Exemption - Universal Credit

UPDATE: The Department of Health has now decided to only start the Universal Credit scheme in one area in April - Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside. The other three areas - Wigan, Warrington and Oldham - will not start operating Universal Credit until July.

As part of the government’s changes to the benefit system, Universal Credit is a new benefit being introduced in April 2013. Those receiving this benefit will be eligible for free prescriptions.

Universal Credit will be rolled out in only a few areas for the moment and as such the prescription form itself will not change for the time being. Patients who are able to produce a valid Universal Credit award letter bearing their name (either as the recipient or because they are a partner or child of the recipient), should sign to declare their exemption and will need to tick the box for “income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance”.

The areas where Universal Credit will be trialled are as follows:

  • Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside (April 2013)
  • Oldham (now July 2013)
  • Warrington (now July 2013)
  • Wigan (now July 2013)

As patients can get their prescriptions dispensed from any NHS community pharmacy in the country, pharmacies outside of these areas should also be aware.

A decision will be made by October 2013 concerning the roll-out of this benefit to other areas.

Further information can be found and

Posted 2 April 2013

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