Changes to proof of exemption

Changes to proof of exemption

February 26, 2018

NHSBSA are making changes to the types of proof of exemption. The white plastic cards currently in use for prescription prepayment certificates, maternity exemption certificates, medical exemption certificates and Tax Credit Exemption Certificates will soon be phased out as part of the NHSBSA’s service improvement programme. The plastic cards will begin to be replaced by a double-sided A4 paper certificate from March 2018 as an interim measure, in a move towards using digital certificates in the future.

From March 2018, Tax Credit Exemption Certificates will be the first exemption to be changed from plastic card to a double-sided A4 paper certificate. The paper certificate will contain very similar information to that currently held on the plastic cards. Other certificates currently using plastic cards will follow once NHSBSA has evaluated the success of the paper Tax Credit Exemption Certificates.

Separately, NHSBSA are currently trialling digital certificates for prescription prepayment certificates and maternity exemption certificates (see information on the digital maternity exemption service here).

What types of exemption certificates might be presented in the pharmacy?

NHSBSA envisage it taking up to five years for the plastic cards to be fully phased out so in the meantime the proof of exemption mentioned above should to be accepted as long as they are within their expiry date.

Pharmacy teams should note it is the patient’s responsibility to make an accurate declaration. Checks are carried out on prescriptions claimed under exemption for fraudulent claims. Where patients do not have evidence or where there is doubt over whether the evidence provided is appropriate, mark the ‘Evidence Not Seen’ box on the reverse of the prescription. Pharmacy staff need not refuse to dispense items on the basis that the patient does not provide evidence of their entitlement to free prescriptions.

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