NHS website crash stops women buying cheaper HRT prescriptions in England
Health officials have apologised after women were unable to get a certificate online to allow them to access cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions.
HRT should have been obtainable from Saturday using a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), which will last for 12 months and cost £19.30 for the year.
But women have been unable to sort the certificate online due to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website being down.
We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues when trying to buy an HRT PPC. We're working to fix the issue and we apologise for the inconvenience.
You will be able to backdate your certificate if you buy it at a later date. The HRT PPC can start from 1 April 2023.
— NHS Business Services Authority (@NHSBSA) April 1, 2023
The NHSBSA apologised and said it is working to fix the problem, adding that women will be able to backdate their certificate if they buy it at a later date.
A spokesperson said: “We’re aware that some people are experiencing issues when trying to buy an HRT PPC this morning following the introduction of the new service.
“We’re working to put a fix in place as soon as possible and we apologise for any inconvenience.
“We can reassure people wanting to buy a certificate that if they aren’t able to buy one today, they will be able to backdate their certificate if they buy it at a later date.
“If you need your HRT medicine before you buy the HRT PPC, ask your pharmacist for an FP57 receipt when you pay for your HRT medication. You will be able to get a refund from the pharmacy.
“The HRT PPC can start from April 1 2023.”
The day has come women going through #menopause have been waiting for - the annual pre-payment certificate for #HRT launches...
But can anyone actually access the site?
This has been so hard fought for by women and they can wait no longer👇https://t.co/WehlLGFcv8 pic.twitter.com/YfVQareNkG
— Carolyn Harris MP (@carolynharris24) April 1, 2023
The Government estimates the certificate will help 400,000 women save hundreds of pounds annually.
Women can get the certificate online – when the website is back up and running – or in some pharmacies, and it can be used as many times as needed in the 12-month period.
The certificate includes access to eligible HRT items including patches, tablets, pessaries and gels and creams applied to the skin.
Welsh Labour MP Carolyn Harris tweeted: “The day has come women going through #menopause have been waiting for – the annual pre-payment certificate for #HRT launches…
“But can anyone actually access the site?
“This has been so hard fought for by women and they can wait no longer.”