Care Leaver Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate

From 1 August 2023, NHS Lincolnshire ICB will fund prepayment prescription certificates for care leavers aged 18 to 25 years who are not entitled to free prescriptions under current exemptions.

Across Lincolnshire there is a strong commitment from agencies to deliver a consistently high-quality core offer of support for Care Leavers. This cohort of young people are known to experience additional challenge in terms of both health and well-being and financial disadvantage. Provision of free prescriptions for this vulnerable group will support both access to healthcare and a reduction in health inequalities, and reflects the goals and priorities set out by NHS Lincolnshire ICB.

Research provides extensive evidence of the negative mental and physical health issues, in both the short and long-term, for those who have experienced care when compared to their non-care experienced peers. Challenge in accessing appropriate healthcare and treatment can be compounded by the financial struggles experienced as young people leaving care face additional inequalities such as the financial constraints which may result as they move into independent living. Many of these young people do not have access to funds from extended family, supporting them with daily living costs; the additional cost of a prescription may cause further financial hardship and may result in the prescription not being collected and health needs not being met.


The current list of those exempt from prescription charges does not include care leavers. Those exempts are listed below:

  • Aged 16 – 18 in full time education.
  • Who have a medical condition for which all prescriptions are free.
  • On a low income.
  • Who are (or are the partner of someone) in receipt of certain benefits including Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Tax Credit.
  • Who meet the NHS Low Income Scheme Requirements.
  • Young people not in employment, education, or training.

How do I apply?

The Barnardo’s Leaving Care Workers/ Leaving Care Service will play a key role is assisting care leavers to identify whether they are already entitled to free prescriptions and supporting in the completion of the relevant application form. If the young person is eligible for free prescriptions under one of the national criteria, they may be exempt from other charges, such as dental treatment charges.

Alternatively, the young person can apply for themselves by accessing the application form.