"This announcement is a good opportunity for employers to recognise the importance of their role in providing this support and start the conversation in their organisation."
- Kathy Abernethy, Peppy director and chief nursing officer
From the 1st April 2023, women prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) will have access to a new scheme that enables them to access 12 months’ worth of menopause prescription items for the cost of two single prescription charges, quoted at £18.70.
This scheme will be valid for a list of HRT prescription items, including patches, tablets and topical preparations. There will be no limit to how many times this certificate can be used during its 12 month validation period, and it will also act as an addition to the existing help with prescription charges, including the 3 and 12 month Prescription Prepayment Certificates (PPCs).
However, it is important to note that for individuals that need multiple medicines, the existing PPCs may remain a more cost effective method of paying for prescriptions.
The introduction of this scheme is part of the Women’s Health Strategy for England year one priorities, which were published last summer. This strategy sets out an ambitious new agenda for improving the health and wellbeing of women and girls in the UK as well as improve how the health and care system listens to women.
Commenting on this announcement, Dame Lesley Regan, women’s health ambassador, has said:
“The menopause is an inevitable stage in a woman’s life course. As a gynaecologist, I’ve witnessed first-hand the symptoms that women experience, which can have debilitating impacts on their daily lives.
“Making HRT more affordable will have a hugely beneficial impact on the lives of so many women. This prepayment certificate is a major step forward in prioritising the health and wellbeing of women.”
Applications for this PCC will still need to go through the NHS Business Services Authority or in person at a pharmacy registered to sell PCCs. Once it has been granted, it will be available for use immediately on or after 1 April 2023.
When collecting HRT products, patients will have to show digital or paper copy HRT PPCs to the pharmacist and complete the exemption declaration on the NHS prescription form.
Reacting to this announcement, Kathy Abernethy, Peppy director and chief nursing officer, has said:
“We welcome the price cuts for HRT: cost should not be a prohibitor of women accessing the treatment they need. However, HRT is just one tool in the armoury for effectively supporting women through menopause.
“We know that while every woman will experience menopause, not all symptoms are the same - so providing a rounded support for women is really important.”
Abernethy continued that the scheme demonstrates that employers can play a “pivotal role in providing access to specialist support through workplace health and wellbeing benefits, offering women a route to getting the vital advice and help they need.”
“This could include access to expert support and guidance on how to manage symptoms day to day, options for treatment and what’s right for them, as well as support for wider health and wellbeing,” Abernethy concluded.