Prescription charges will increase by 25p from 1 April, public health minister Dawn Primarolo has announced.

The increase, which the department stressed is below the rate of inflation, will take the cost of a single prescription item to £7.10.

The charges are expected to raise£435m in the next financial year, which Ms Primarolo promised would be ploughed back into the NHS.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley complained that a government report on prescription charges had not been published ahead of the cost increase.

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