Q: I have had an enquiry from my local GP surgery, can the doctor write a prescription for a wig for one of his patients with alopecia?
A: No. Wigs are medical devices that are not listed in the Drug Tariff and therefore not allowed on community NHS prescriptions (e.g. FP10/WP10). Wigs are provided via local NHS services following referral to a dermatologist. Some patients may be entitled to help with costs.
As a general rule, if the patient is entitled to free prescriptions then they should also receive their wig free of charge. The patient should inform the person fitting the wig that they are entitled to help with health costs and provide the evidence of their exemption.
Notable exceptions where exempt patients may have to pay are:
- Patients exempt due to being over 60 years of age.
- Patients holding medical exemption certificates.
- Women holding maternity exemption certificates.
Patients who would normally pay for their prescriptions may have to contribute to the cost of their wig. Many hospitals have their own NHS wig supplier with local guidelines on charging.
NHS Choices website provides further information for patients and healthcare professionals
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Following the abolition of prescription charges, wigs and appliances are provided free of charge to all patients via local NHS services.
Each week we will be highlighting a popular question or issue addressed by our information services team to help keep you informed about the hot topics being discussed by other members.
If you have any questions about the Drug Tariff - send Sue a message or call Information Services on 0800 783 5709*