A scheme saving menopausal women up to £205 a year will come into force on April 1. Up to 400,000 women in England will be able to access cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) through a new pre-payment prescription certificate.
A single NHS prescription charge currently costs £9.35, or £18.70 if a woman needs two types of hormones. HRT is often provided on a short-term basis, meaning regular payments – once a month, or every three. But the new scheme will allow women to make a one-off payment for 12 months of HRT, saving them hundreds of pounds a year.
Women will be able to use the certificate for HRT prescription items including patches and tablets, and there is no limit to how many times the certificate can be used while it is valid.
The Daily Mail has been calling on the Government to ‘Fix the HRT crisis’ following revelations that women were struggling to get a hold of their vital medication due to supply issues.
A scheme saving menopausal women up to £205 a year will come into force on April 1
Some women reported paying up to eight times the NHS price for HRT online, while others met in car parks to ‘trade’ supplies.
Women’s health minister Maria Caulfield said: ‘The symptoms of menopause, ranging from hot flushes and difficulty sleeping, to low mood and memory problems, can lead to serious and sometimes incredibly debilitating impacts on women’s lives.
‘I know how important this issue is to Daily Mail readers and to women across the country, and how vital it is for those experiencing the menopause to have access to the treatment they need.
‘I am proud of this incredible step forward that will change lives and improve health outcomes for women. This new HRT prescription pre-payment certificate will reduce costs for hundreds of thousands across the country, making treatment more accessible and helping improve the lives of those who suffer from negative symptoms of the menopause.’
Last year, the Mail’s campaign secured a major victory when pharmacists were given the go-ahead to prescribe alternatives to out-of-stock treatment. Dame Lesley Regan, the Government’s women’s health ambassador, 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 pre-payment certificate is a major step forward in prioritising the health and wellbeing of women.’
Women will need to apply for the certificate through the NHS Business Service Authority or in-person at pharmacies registered to sell them.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, co-chairman of the UK Menopause Taskforce, said she was ‘delighted’ that the once-a-year fee was being introduced, but warned there was still an ongoing HRT crisis.