Free prescription warning: You can face £100 fine for false claim even if done by mistake | Personal Finance | Finance

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More than 10 million Britons rely on prescription medication and in Wales and Scotland anyone can claim their medicine for free on the NHS. However, in England, only various groups of people are eligible to get free NHS prescriptions.

For example, people can claim a free NHS prescription if, at the time the prescription is dispensed they are over 60 years old, under 16 years old, or are between the ages of 16 to 18 years and in full-time education.

When collecting their prescription individuals will then need to tick the box on the prescription form which equates to their situation.

Britons who “falsely” or even “incorrectly” claim they are eligible for a free prescription but are not actually entitled could face up to a £100 fine for “misleading” the NHS.

If they are caught, they are likely to be told to pay the original NHS prescription or dental treatment charges, and then the penalty charge on top.

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Usually, the fine is five times the original amount owed or up to £100.

The NHS can then also charge an extra £50 if a person does not pay within 28 days of receiving the penalty charge notice.

The NHS’s Business Service Authority (NHSBSA) is responsible for checking claims made for free NHS prescriptions and NHS dental treatment.

The group carries out monthly randomised checks on prescription forms and dental treatment claim forms to check for fraud and error.

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The calls are being made as paying for medication could become even more unaffordable for low-income households even with the current help some people can get.

A recent survey by the National Pharmacy Association revealed that nearly nine in ten pharmacists in England found they have patients who often go without prescription medicines because they cannot afford the charge.

Over three-quarters of pharmacies in England reported having patients who sometimes go without prescription medicines due to price.

The same number reported that this happens “one to five times a week”.

Commenting on the recent findings, Nick Kaye, the National Pharmacy Association vice chair, said: “People should not be denied access to prescription medicines on the basis of their ability to pay.

“For pharmacists, processing prescription charges is a task which adds workload but has no patient benefit.

“We would like to see the prescription levy reformed or scrapped altogether, to remove this barrier to treatment.”

A DHSC spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “We recognise the pressures people are facing with the rising cost of living and we are taking action to support households, including freezing prescription charges for the first time in 12 years.

“Thanks to our extensive arrangements to help people afford NHS prescription charges, almost 89 percent of prescription items in England are already provided free of charge.”

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