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Terms and conditions for buying an NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC)

The PPC service we offer is for you, the customer. Your use of this service means you agree to the following terms and conditions.


'You' means the person named on the PPC.

Legal identity

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is an Arm's Length Body of the Department of Health and Social Care. Our head office is:

Stella House
Goldcrest Way
Newburn Riverside
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE15 8NY

Your PPC

You can only:

  • buy a PPC if you live in England
  • use the PPC for your own NHS prescriptions

A PPC covers any items prescribed on an NHS prescription (excluding support tights).

You should show the PPC as evidence of your entitlement to free NHS prescriptions.

Before you buy

You should:

Find out more about exemption and remission categories in the leaflet HC11 'Help with health costs' (PDF: 270KB).

Cost of a PPC

The cost of a PPC is the price at the time you buy it. This is regardless of the start date requested. The Department of Health and Social Care determines the cost of the PPC. This may change on 1 April each year.

Certificate length

A PPC is valid for 3 or 12 months.

PPC start date

You can choose the start date of your PPC. This can be up to one calendar month before or after the date you buy it.

If you do not specify a start date, your PPC will start from the date you buy it.

Errors or changes of circumstances

It's important your details are correct and kept up to date. You should contact us if:

  • there are any errors on your certificate
  • you change your name or address

If your details do no match what is on your prescription, you may receive a penalty charge.

PPC cancellations

Once your PPC has been issued it cannot be cancelled.

If you become exempt from NHS prescription charges you may be able to get a refund. See PPC refunds.

If you pay for your PPC in instalments and you wish to cancel your Direct Debit, contact us. If you cancel your Direct Debit, you may have an outstanding balance to pay. We'll contact you if this happens.

NHS prescription charge refund

You may get an NHS prescription charge refund if:

  • you have an NHS receipt and refund form (FP57)
  • your PPC covers the date you paid for your NHS prescription

Ask for an FP57 when you pay for your NHS prescription. You cannot get one later. The FP57 tells you how to claim.

You need to apply for a refund within three months of paying the prescription charge.

PPC refunds

You may be able to claim a full or partial refund if you become entitled to free NHS prescriptions. The amount of refund depends on:

  • how long your PPC is valid for
  • when and how your circumstances change

You need to apply for a refund within 3 months from when you became entitled to free NHS prescriptions. For full refund details, including the time limit for claiming, contact us or check leaflet HC11 'Help with health costs' (PDF: 270KB).

Paying in one single payment

You can buy a 3 or 12 month PPC in full at the time of application online, by phone and in some pharmacies.

You will get your digital PPC by email straight away if you provide an email address. Or you will get a paper certificate in the post within 10 working days of your application.

Your PPC will not automatically renew.

Paying by Direct Debit

If you buy a 12 month PPC online or by phone, you can pay in 10 monthly instalments by Direct Debit. This payment option is not available at a pharmacy.

By selecting this payment method, you are entering into a commitment to pay all of the instalments.

You cannot choose the date we collect your first payment. You can change your monthly payment date after we collect your first instalment.

You will get your digital PPC by email straight away if you provide an email address. Or you will get a paper certificate in the post within 10 working days of your application.

Direct Debits which are returned as unpaid due to insufficient funds may be re-presented within 10 working days.

If we take a Direct Debit payment from your bank without your agreement you are entitled to make an indemnity claim at your bank. They will refund your money immediately. This is part of the Direct Debit Guarantee.

We may refuse to accept payment for a 12 month PPC by Direct Debit instalments in certain circumstances.

Direct Debit renewals

If you pay by Direct Debit we will normally automatically renew your PPC when it expires.

If you do not want your PPC to automatically renew you should cancel your Direct Debit at your bank after making all of your payments. You must also contact us to tell us. If you do not tell us your PPC may be renewed even if you do not want it.

Your PPC will not automatically renew if:

  • you are 60 or will turn 60 within 9 months of the PPC expiry date
  • the Direct Debit was paid by a third party
  • your PPC is not fully paid for
  • the Direct Debit has been cancelled

Direct Debit Guarantee

                                                                  The Direct Debit Guarantee                       

  • This Guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits
  • If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit the NHS Business Services Authority will notify you 10 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If you request the NHS Business Services Authority to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request.
  • If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by the NHS Business Services Authority or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society.
           -   If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when the NHS Business Services Authority asks you to.
  • You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify us.