Digital maternity exemption certificate trialled in Northumberland

Digital maternity exemption certificate trialled in Northumberland

January 11, 2017

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is trialling a digital version of the maternity exemption certificate as part of a project aiming to improve the patient experience.

A pilot of the digital certificate, which entitles pregnant women and those who have had a baby in the last 12 months to free NHS prescriptions, begins on 16th January 2017. Approximately 250 patients in Newcastle upon Tyne and Hexham, Northumberland, are taking part. However, because patients can get their prescriptions dispensed from any NHS community pharmacy in the country, pharmacy teams outside of these areas should also be aware of these arrangements.

Feedback from both patients and healthcare professionals on the two-month pilot will be used to refine the new certificates before the change is rolled out more widely.

What this means for pharmacy staffDigital maternity exemption certificate

If a patient is involved in the pilot, they may present a digital version of their maternity exemption certificate as evidence of their entitlement to free NHS prescriptions instead of a plastic card. This digital version may be shown to you via the patient’s smartphone or it may have been printed out, and it will look like the image opposite.

If patients experience any problems accessing the certificate on their device, they should report the problem to NHSBSA by calling 0191 203 5695 or emailing In this scenario, staff can mark the ‘evidence not seen’ box on the back of the prescription form.

Providing feedback

If you have any comments on the digital maternity exemption certificates, please contact NHSBSA on 0191 203 5695 or

Further information

Additional details can be found on the Pricing Authority website.

More about exemptions from the NHS prescription charge can be found here.

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