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Half a million penalty notices issued for patients claiming free prescriptions



More than 430,000 penalty charge notices were handed out to patients claiming free prescriptions that could not be verified by the NHS Business Services Authority in 2015.

The figures, released by Conservative health minister Alistair Burt, also revealed almost 260,000 notices had already been handed out in the first four months of 2016.

Not all the notices will be for false claimants as some will be issued on the basis of erroneous or out of date information.

Responding to Labour whip and MP for Manchester Withington, Jeff Smith, Mr Burt said: ‘Since September 2014, when the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) took on responsibility for the service, a total of 747,790 penalty charge notices have been issued where someone claimed exemption on the basis that they held a valid exemption certificate but this could not be verified by the NHSBSA.’

In full: The annual breakdown for penalty charge notices

  Penalty Charge Notices Surcharge letters

September 2014 – December 2014

59,564

20,562

January 2015December 2015

430,971

171,065

January 2016April 2016

257,255

86,426

Total

757,790

278,053