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NHS Penalty Charges

(20 Posts)
NotTalula Tue 18-Oct-16 14:08:27

Hi there,
I'm completely new here. A friend suggested I join these forums to see if I can find other people who are fighting this particular fight...

I'm being charged £142.80 by the NHS Business Services Authority because I claimed a free prescription while I was pregnant because I wasn't in possession of a maternity exemption certificate (I thought I was, because staff at my GP surgery misinformed me, but that's a long story).

I've both appealed and complained and got nowhere. I just can't believe how unreasonable they are being.

PotteringAlong Tue 18-Oct-16 14:10:31

But they're not being unreasonable. If you didn't have a maternity exemption card then you were not entitled to a free prescription.'

You cannot have thought you filled in a form and received a card but didn't. You will have known you hadn't filled the form in.

Pay the fine, don't do it again.

MaliceInWonderland78 Tue 18-Oct-16 14:12:18

Send them a copy of your P60 and tell them to stick it!

WaxingNinja Tue 18-Oct-16 14:13:04

Do you have a mat exemption card now?

NerrSnerr Tue 18-Oct-16 14:14:22

I'm not sure how you can think you're in possession of the maternity exemption, surely you didn't have one so how can you think you've got it?

PotteringAlong Tue 18-Oct-16 14:14:45

Send them a copy of your P60 and tell them to stick it!

No, that's not how it works! To be entitled to free prescriptions when you're pregnant you need a maternity exemption card. If you don't have one you're not entitled to them. It's not a difficult system to understand!

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 18-Oct-16 14:18:51

You don't have a valid right of appeal - you didn't have an exemption, so you need to pay. It's strict liability, like speeding. You may feel you had good reasons, but you committed the offence.

WaxingNinja Tue 18-Oct-16 14:19:07

Just spotted you appealed and the appeal failed.

Pay the fine.

Johnstonbananas Tue 18-Oct-16 14:29:54

I have a medical exemption certificate which I imagine is the same as the maternity one only mine lasts longer?

It does say in several places in the chemist if you don't have a valid certificate you will get fined. I had to wait a while for mine to arrive and had to pay for prescriptions until it arrived because the chemist has to see the exemption certificate.

The only way I can see you possibly getting it reduced is if you say that the chemist mis informed you and didn't ask you to show the certificate (I always have to show mine even though I go to the same chemist all the time and they know me- they apologise for making me show it but they have to)

DoJo Tue 18-Oct-16 14:44:30

In what way were you misinformed? Have the staff provided any evidence to support your claim that it was due to their error?

MaliceInWonderland78 Tue 18-Oct-16 15:43:13

I'd appeal to common sense (sadly lacking throughout much of the NHS). It's being pregnant that entitles you to the exemption, not holding the card. If you can prove that you were pregnant, they ought to waive the fee.

That doesn't help you I know. But if it were me, I'd just not pay it and see what they do. It'd be different if you genuinely weren't entitled.

I had a similar thing with a speeding ticket. Bureaucracy would just not allow the ticket to be squashed. I was found guilty (in my absence) at magistrates court, appealed to crown court, argued my own case the bastard cps engaged a barrister and eventually won when the judge applied common sense. The cost to the tax payer must have been ridiculous (def not in the public interest) especially as I was awarded costs, etc.

I was written to by NHS BSA as I was given drugs (having turned up to A&E with a kidney stone) which had been prescribed but not paid for. I wasn't aware that you had to pay, but apparently, because I was not an 'in patient' they were chargable. Nobody asked me to pay at the time. I didn't fill out the ticket thing. The letter went straight in the bin I'm afraid.

I tell you this OP because I practice what I preach. I'm a rebel. I will not be tamed! grin

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood Tue 18-Oct-16 15:48:10

I second the above - being pregnant gives you the exemption, so if you can show that you were pregnant at the time, they aren't entitled to the money.

Write again, being very very clear that you were pregnant and they are not entitled to the money.

PotteringAlong Tue 18-Oct-16 16:34:21

Q. I am sending off my application form for a maternity exemption certificate today, but I need some prescriptions. Will I have to pay?
A. You should pay for the prescriptions, but ask the pharmacist for an FP57 receipt and refund claim form when you pay. You cannot get one later. The form tells you how to claim your refund.

Taken from www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/1644.aspx

southwest1 Wed 19-Oct-16 15:48:59

Sorry but being pregnant does not give you the exemption, only having a valid maternity exemption certificate does. Without that you have to pay prescription charges.

It's exactly the same for people with a medical exemption, without the med ex certificate you are not exempt and NHSBSA have really cracked down on this in the last 18 months and thousands of people with medical conditions that mean they are exempt from prescription charges but whose med ex had expired found themselves hit with fines.

Highlandfling80 Mon 24-Oct-16 06:23:05

That is rubbish op. I am surprised I wasn't fines as I have in the past claimed before receiving certificate.
They do make errors though. I have had my name misspell before on maternity exemptions.
I also received a £50 fine for claiming I had a prepayment when I didn't. This caused me loads of stress. It turned out they were wrong as they got postcode wrong. They didn't even apologize.
I have also had meds prescribed which appear on two lines just as exemption about to expire. Due to an error at surgery only one line and prescribed. Had to buy new certificate immediately due to error but no one cares.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Mon 24-Oct-16 06:40:48

Sorry but being pregnant does not give you the exemption, only having a valid maternity exemption certificate does. Without that you have to pay prescription charges.

^ this.

eurochick Mon 24-Oct-16 06:51:48

Have they just tightened up on this? The only prescription I needed through my entire pregnancy was between applying for the certificate and receiving it. No one has ever tried to chase me for the cost or fine me.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Mon 24-Oct-16 09:03:30

They do random checks euro

Oldsu Mon 24-Oct-16 11:18:39

www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Documents/pod_guide.pdf

On part 4.6 it clearly shows particulars of a maternity exemption certificate what it looks like back and front including the valid from and to date so how on earth you thought you were exempt without one of these is a bit puzzling.
www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Documents/pod_guide.pdf

MaliceInWonderland78 so you equate not bothering to check your exemption in the first place and then when you realised you had to pay ignoring the letter as being a REBEL????? not the term I would use TBH.

HellsBellsnBucketsofBlood they are entitled to the money they are entitled to the money from all prescriptions unless the person cashing that prescription in has a valid exemption and can prove it (or its checkable)
Johnstonbananas
Yes you are right pharmacists should ask however it still is the responsibility of the patient to ensure they are exempt not the pharmacists, pharmacists have a duty to care much like GPs, they cannot withhold medication and indeed they cant be expected to refuse medication to people who may be vulnerable, in pain or who are scared, nor can they be expected to have to deal with aggressive and maybe violent people if they refuse to dispense the medication without proof of exemption.

This is why have the evidence not seen box that they can tick and its why
the NHSBSA was set up.

People who claim exemptions also (in most cases) sign the declaration on the back of the prescriptions by doing so the patient is consenting to the disclosure of information from the prescription to relevant bodies, the notes at the top also make it clear that penalty charge may be incurred if the information given is incorrect.

That information is also repeated on the tear off part of the prescription , so there is really no excuse for people 'thinking' they don't have to pay and then complaining when they get fined

NotTalula Tue 20-Dec-16 13:31:23

Lots of different opinions expressed here, some presented as facts when they are actually points of view.

My original point was that, regardless of whether the penalty charge had been correctly applied in my case, I didn't believe it would be reasonable to apply it. This is because NHS staff had made mistakes and misinformed me on a number of occasions, e.g., they told me the application form was the mat ex cert itself, rather than sending it off to the NHS BSA, they accepted the application form at the dispensary without question, dispensary staff incorrectly ticked the relevant box on the prescription form on my behalf etc.

In case anyone is affected by similar issues and finds this thread, or is just interest, here's the final outcome...

After many phone calls, emails, and escalations within the organisation, the NHS Business Services Authority have come to the conclusion that, as my application for the mat ex cert (FW8) was filled in long before the prescription was claimed, there was sufficient evidence I had acted with due care and could be released from paying the penalty charge.

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