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Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Health written question – answered on 24th February 2014.

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Photo of Duncan Hames Duncan Hames Liberal Democrat, Chippenham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost of administering prescription charges and exemptions is.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

The following table provides an estimate of direct and overhead costs for the administration of prescription pre-payment, maternity exemption and medical exemption certificates for the last complete financial year in England. These costs are the only elements of the prescription charging system that can be separately identified.

National health service prescription charge administrative process
2012-13 £000
Prescription Pre-payment certificates, Maternity and Medical Exemption certificates 4,988

Costs for processing prescription charges cannot be provided, because they are processed as part of the reimbursement arrangements for dispensers in England and are not separately identifiable. Costs cannot be provided for the pursuit of prescription charge fraud as it is not possible to separately identify this from the cost of tackling other types of NHS fraud.

There are additional costs associated with the issuing of NHS tax credit certificates and assessment of eligibility for the NHS Low Income Scheme. These are not included in the table because the English costs cannot be isolated from costs for the devolved Administrations. In addition these certificates do not solely relate to prescription charges as NHS tax credit and NHS low income scheme certificates also provide help with the cost of NHS dental treatment, sight tests, vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses, NHS wigs and fabric supports, the cost of travel to receive NHS treatment on referral, as well as help with NHS prescription charges.

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