Maternity Exemption Certificate FAQs

Q. When can I apply for a Maternity Exemption Certificate?

A. You can apply once your pregnancy has been certified by a doctor or midwife, or any time during the twelve months following the birth of your baby.

Q. How do I apply?

A. Apply on form FW8 which is available from your doctor, midwife or health visitor.

Q. How long will the certificate last?

A. Certificates start from the date one month before the date on which we get your application, to twelve months after the expected date of the baby's birth.  If your baby is born later than expected you may need to apply for an extension.

Q. How long will it take for my certificate to arrive?

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

Q. I paid for some NHS prescriptions before I knew I was pregnant.  Is it possible to claim the money back?

A. You can only claim money back for any charges that you paid on or after the date on which your doctor or midwife signs the application form FW8 to certify your pregnancy.  It is not possible to re-claim any NHS prescription charges paid before this date.

Q. I am sending off my application form for a Maternity Exemption Certificate today, but I need some prescriptions.  Will I have to pay?

A. You should pay for the prescriptions, but ask the pharmacist for an FP57 receipt and refund claim form when you pay. You cannot get one later. The form tells you how to claim your refund.

Q. I've got my certificate now, but I paid for some prescriptions between sending the application and getting the certificate.  Can I claim a refund?

A. You can claim a refund providing you obtained the FP57 receipt and refund claim form from your pharmacist at the time you paid.  You cannot get one later.  Information about how to claim is on the reverse of the FP57.  Only in exceptional circumstances can a refund be made without an FP57.  If you didn’t get an FP57 and there was a particular reason, we can consider your claim.  Write to our Service Improvement Team and send any proof of payment that you have (e.g. till receipt).  The address is:

Service Improvement Team
NHS Help With Health Costs
Sandyford House
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE2 1BF

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

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

NHS Help with Health Costs
Maternity Exemption
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE2 1BF

We will let you know whether you are entitled to a refund.

Q. I have a Maternity Exemption Certificate but I have changed my name. Can I have a new certificate?

A. Yes.  Write to us with your new details, enclosing your current certificate and 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
Maternity Exemption
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE2 1BF