HRT prescription website crashes just hours after launch
A new NHS prescription service offering cheaper hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been thrown into disarray after the website crashed just hours after the scheme’s launch.
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 health officials have apologised after women were left unable to access the certificate, which offers HRT prescriptions at a reduced cost, because of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website being down.
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."
Certificate estimated to help 400,000 women save money
The Government estimates the certificate will help 400,000 women save hundreds of pounds annually and make treatment more accessible.
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.
About 15 per cent of women aged 45 to 64 in England are currently prescribed HRT, according to DHSC figures.
Carolyn Harris, the Welsh Labour MP, 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."