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money2June 13 2016

Over 34,000 penalty charge notices were issued in 2015 to patients declaring they had a valid medical exemption certificate which could not be checked. However, a quarter of the penalty charges were retracted when the patients were subsequently able demonstrate their right to exemption from the prescription levy.

Community and Social Care Minister Alistair Burt has said that during 2015, “a total of 34,142 penalty charge notices were issued to patients declaring they held a valid medical exemption certificate, which the National Health Service Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) was unable to verify. This equated to 7.92% of all penalty charge notices issued.

“During the same period, a total of 9,170 of these were subsequently retracted when the patient proved their right to exemption. This equated to 26.86% of all penalty charge notices issued for medical exemption certificates.”

Jeff Smith, MP for Withington in Manchester had asked two further questions to follow up on information he had received regarding the number of penalty notices for incorrect prescription fee exemption declarations. Mr Burt had said that almost three quarters of a million penalty notices had been issued since September 2014 to people falsely claiming exemption from the prescription levy.

In this new response, Mr Burt said that a common reason for a penalty charge being retracted is that the patient has not informed NHSBSA about a change of their address. In addition, some people who have a qualifying condition had not applied for a medical exemption certificate.

A new checking system introduced in 2015 “means that if someone submits a valid application for a medical or maternity exemption certificate within 60 days from date of the penalty charge notice, the outstanding penalty charge is cancelled but the prescription charge is still recovered,” he added.

Links:

Written question about exemptions

Written question about retractions

Today’s Pharmacist coverage of original question

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