NHS Patient Fines exceed £13m in 2016/17
Fines issued to patients in England claiming free prescriptions while not eligible have doubled, figures show. NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) issued 979,210 fines in 2016-17 – bringing in £13.3m – compared with 494,129 in 2015-16. The BBC obtained the data under the Freedom of Information Act. The first recording of this data took place in 2015. This is because, in September 2014, responsibility for checks moved from local NHS trusts to the central NHSBSA.
NHS Patient Fines
A fine of up to £100 is levied on patients obtaining free medication after an exemption certificate has expired. As a result, the hardest hit are those on low incomes and with long-term illnesses, according to the British Medical Association. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society said fines often stemmed from patients not knowing or forgetting to renew their paperwork. Ensuring that they are entitled to claim free-of-charge prescriptions, is the patient’s responsibility, says the NHSBSA.
In dentistry, it is not uncommon for practices that do not collect treatment fees in advance to end up with circa £24,000 of bad debt each year!