NHS England and the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) are launched a nationwide campaign on the 10th September 2018 to help people understand their eligibility for free prescriptions.
The ‘Check Before You Tick’ campaign will encourage patients to check whether they are entitled to free prescriptions before claiming them to help reduce the £256 million cost per year to the NHS when people incorrectly claim them for free.
Patients will be able to access an online eligibility checker on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick a new online tool to help everyone to understand the government’s eligibility criteria for free prescriptions.
Anyone incorrectly claiming a free prescription risks a penalty charge of up to £100 from the NHS Business Services Authority which carries out prescription checks each month.
Patients are entitled to free prescriptions if they are under 16 years old or 16, 17 or 18 and in full time education, or over 60. Certain illnesses can also exempt a patient from prescription charges as well as being pregnant or having a baby under one year.
Certain benefits, but not all, qualify people for free prescriptions, so it’s important that patients check their entitlement, and pharmacists should support them with this and ask to see up-to-date proof of eligibility.
Pregnant women and new mothers, although eligible to claim free prescriptions, may not always realise they need a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate.
Without a valid certificate, they too could receive a penalty charge.
For individuals who experience financial difficulties but are not eligible for free prescriptions, there are other means of support available to them and pharmacists should help advise, such as prepayment certificates and the NHS low income scheme.
Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions
Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).
The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines.
Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.
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