To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that the need for a medical exemption certificate has been effectively communicated to sufferers of diabetes by the NHS Business Service Authority and pharmacies.
Information about the prescription charge exemption arrangements, including the requirement to hold valid exemption certificate to claim a medical exemption, is included on NHS Choices. Long-standing arrangements are also in place to make available to general practitioner (GP) practices leaflets to put on display for patients containing details about the exemption rules and requirements. The declaration on the prescription form that patients are required to sign to claim a medical exemption from the charge also makes clear the requirement for a certificate.
Additionally, in October 2014 as part of the centralisation of the prescription exemption checking process within the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), the NHSBSA sent all English pharmacies and GP practices a supply of posters and booklets entitled ‘Claiming free prescriptions?’ to make available to patients. The poster warns patients of the consequences of claiming free prescriptions incorrectly and directs them to the booklet for more information on eligibility, which states that medical exemption certificates are valid for five years. The poster and booklet are also published on the NHSBSA website:
The NHSBSA is currently planning further communications work to build on this initial activity.