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Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will (a) reduce prescription costs and (b) abolish charges completely; and if she will make a statement. (140053)

The Government said in their response to the Health Committee’s report on national health service charges, that the Department would undertake a review of the current exemptions for prescription charges and put forward options that would be expenditure neutral for the NHS. We have undertaken to report to Parliament before the summer recess 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 422W, on prescriptions: fees and charges, what mechanisms are in place for checking a patient’s entitlement to exemption when it is declared. (140462)

When a patient claims exemption from payment of national health service prescription charges, mechanisms are in place for the pharmacist or dispensing doctor to request proof of this exemption and for the patient to produce relevant evidence to support their claim, depending on the grounds of the exemption. Where this is not possible, the prescription is marked “evidence not seen” and dispensed for free.

It is for the relevant primary care trust to establish whether a claim is valid. Anyone found to have wrongly claimed help with health costs will face a penalty charge and, in some cases, prosecution.