As soon as you get pregnant, you are entitled to free prescriptions, but not many people realise this is the case. It’s worth being aware of this, because it means you can claim any prescription medication without paying for it, even if the medication is not related to your pregnancy.
Here’s the lowdown:
Who is eligible?
Free prescriptions during pregnancy is not a means-tested benefit. That is, any woman who is pregnant can claim it, regardless of whether she is working or not, or whether she earns £10,000 or £100,000.
How long can I claim free prescriptions for?
You are entitled to free prescriptions from the time you are confirmed pregnant by your doctor, to a year after your baby is born.
That is, 12 months from the due date, or 12 months from the date of birth, whichever is later. If your baby is due early, you will still be able to claim until the original 12 months stated on your entitlement card is up.
If you suffer the tragedy of your baby being stillborn, you are still entitled to the 12 months free prescription.
What can I claim?
Basically, anything you have a prescription for. When you take your prescription to the chemist, you tick the appropriate box on the back and you will not have to pay.
Even if you need something like a medicated shampoo, it is worth asking your doctor if you can get a prescription for this.
How do I register for maternity free prescription entitlement
When your doctor confirms that you are pregnant, ask him or her about free prescription entitlement application. Your GP or the surgery reception will then ask you to fill out a form, which they complete with your expected due date on it. This is Form FW8. This is then sent away to the Central Services Agency, and you will receive your prescription entitlement card in the post.
This will come with instructions about what to do if your baby is born after the due date, so you can still have the full 12 months free prescription benefit.
Does this cover dental services too?
If you attend an NHS dentist, you are also entitled to free treatment (including check-ups) if, at the start of the treatment, you are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months, and hold the maternity exemption certificate.
If you have suffered a miscarriage after the 24th week of pregnancy, or your baby was stillborn, you are still entitled to this.