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Prescription Charges (Exemption)

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance is issued to doctors on the verification of physical disabilities that trigger exemption from prescription charges; and if she will make a statement; (79258)

(2) what criteria are used to determine eligibility for prescription charges physical disability exemption in the case of people who cannot go out unaided;

(3) how many individuals receive exemption from prescription charges due to a continuing physical disability preventing them from going out of the home unaided; what monitoring of such claims is undertaken; and if she will make a statement.

No guidance has been issued to the national health service specifically concerning the eligibility or verification of patients who apply for a prescription charge exemption on the grounds of a continuing physical disability that prevents them from going outside their home without the help of another person. When applying for a prescription charge exemption, patients are required to declare that they suffer from such a condition and this has to be signed by a doctor or a member of their general practitioner practice with access to the patient's records to confirm the patient's declaration.

The prescription pricing division of the NHS Business Services Authority became responsible for the issuing of medical exemption certificates on 1 October 2002. Since then 70,887 medical exemption certificates have been issued to those declaring a continuing physical disability which prevents them from going outside their home without the help of another person. The certificates are valid for five years from the date of issue.