Medical Exemption Certificates FAQs

Q. What will be covered by the certificate?

A. Your NHS prescriptions.

Q. How long will it last?

A. Medical Exemption Certificates last for five years or until your 60th birthday, whichever is sooner.

Q. How long will it be before I receive the certificate?

A. You should expect to receive your certificate within 10 working days of us receiving your application.

Q. I need some prescriptions now but I do not have a certificate. Do I have to wait until it arrives?

A. Your certificate will start from the date one month before the date we get your application.  You can claim a refund of any charges paid from that date, however, you must ask your pharmacist for an FP57 receipt and refund claim form when you pay. You cannot get one later.

Q. I have a Medical Exemption Certificate, but I have just changed my name. Is it possible to have a new certificate?

A. Please write to us, returning your certificate and include proof of your change of name, for example, a copy of your marriage certificate, deed poll letter or decree absolute.  Our address is:

NHS Help With Health Costs
Medical Exemption
Bridge House
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE1 5SN

Q. I've already paid for prescriptions, but I did not get the FP57 receipt and refund claim form. Does that mean I cannot claim a refund?

A. Only in exceptional circumstances can a refund be made without the FP57 receipt and refund claim form.  If there was a reason why you were unable to get an FP57 from the pharmacy when you paid, please write to:

Service Improvement Team
NHS Help With Health Costs
Bridge House
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE1 6SN

explaining your reasons and enclosing any proof of payment that you have (e.g. a till receipt).  A Service Improvement Advisor will consider your claim.

Q. I've already got a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC).  Can I get a refund of the cost?

A. It depends on how long you've had the certificate and how long it has to run.  Once you have received your Medical Exemption Certificate, return your PPC with a letter of explanation (including your Medical Exemption Certificate reference number) to:

NHS Help With Health Costs
PPC Issue Office
Bridge House
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE1 6SN

We will let you know whether you are entitled to anything back.

Q. My current Medical Exemption Certificate is due to expire soon.  How do I renew it?

A. We will send you a reminder letter approximately one month before your certificate is due to expire.

Q. How do doctors surgeries get new versions of the FP92A with cancer on them?

A: In late January, an initial supply of the new ‘1 January 2009’ version of the FP92A form will be distributed directly to all GPs and any oncology departments that registered their details with us.  For further supplies of the new form they should contact their NHS Area Team / Trust form supply unit.

Q. What types of cancer are covered? Who decides this?

A: An exemption certificate can be issued to a person undergoing treatment for:

  • cancer
  • the effects of cancer
  • the effects of current or previous cancer treatment

It is a matter for the doctor’s clinical judgement in deciding whether a patient falls within this category.

Q. What if I need lots of prescriptions, but do not qualify for a Medical Exemption Certificate?

A: There are other ways in which a person may get free NHS prescriptions.  These include:

  • because they, or their partner, get Income Support, Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit Guarantee Credit;
  • through NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates, if they or their partner receive Tax Credits and satisfy the conditions to receive a certificate;
  • through NHS Maternity Exemption Certificates, if they are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months;
  • through the NHS Low Income Scheme, because they have a low income.

If  you have to pay but need lots of prescriptions, you could also save money by purchasing a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC).

Full details of the help available can be found in leaflet HC11.

Q. Can I get NHS wigs and fabric supports with my Medical Exemption Certificate?

A: A Medical Exemption Certificate does not provide help with the cost of NHS wigs or fabric supports.   There are other ways in which a person may get help with the cost, including:

  • because they, or their partner, get Income Support, Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit Guarantee Credit;
  • through NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates, if they or their partner receive Tax Credits and satisfy the conditions to receive a certificate;
  • through the NHS Low Income Scheme, because they have a low income.

Full details of the help available can be found in leaflet HC11.

Q. Can I apply for a Medical Exemption Certificate if I have another long term medical condition not listed?

A: Only the exempting medical conditions listed on the FP92A are eligible at present. The government is currently reviewing other long term medical conditions.