Prescription exemption checking materials coming soon

Prescription exemption checking materials coming soon

October 1, 2019

Support your patients to understand their entitlement to free prescriptions with the NHS ‘Check before you tick’ campaign.

Following the success of last year’s campaign to improve patients’ understanding of prescription charge exemption criteria, NHS England and NHS Improvement will be running its ‘Check before you tick’ campaign again this autumn and sending pharmacies updated materials.

The campaign focuses on those patients making benefit-related claims who felt they needed more support to understand they are not automatically exempt. Research with the audience found that people find the benefits system difficult to understand and can mistakenly assume they’re automatically entitled to free prescriptions – which could result in a penalty charge of up to £100.

Asking patients who claim exemption from the NHS prescription charge for evidence of their entitlement is standard practice in community pharmacies, and the ongoing ‘Check before you tick’ complements this work. ‘Check before you tick’ helps people to understand their entitlement and how to claim correctly to avoid a penalty charge, by using an online eligibility checker which is easy to use and takes less than five minutes.

The campaign will also encourage people who pay for their prescriptions to take advantage of other means of reducing costs, such as prepayment certificates and the NHS Low Income Scheme.

The public campaign is due to launch from the beginning of October and pharmacies can continue to use promotional materials they received last year. Community pharmacy teams will receive additional materials as part of an ‘NHS Winter Pressures’ pack to be delivered in early November. Alongside materials for display, the pack will also contain a pharmacy team booklet to help aid conversations with patients.

Further resources including alternative formats of the booklets in audio, large print, easy read, BSL and braille will be available from Public Health England’s Campaign Resource Centre. Patient-facing resources – including access to the eligibility checker – are available via nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick.

The main campaign activity (through radio, video, billboard posters and social media) will run for ten weeks, but the ‘Check before you tick’ message remains relevant year-round.

Community pharmacy teams already play a key role in checking prescriptions and they can help their patients further by:

  • Displaying the campaign resources somewhere visible;
  • Making sure all staff are familiar with the prescription charge exemption criteria;
  • Encouraging patients to check their entitlement prior to making a claim/completing the declaration on the prescription;
  • Asking to see evidence of patients’ entitlement and checking the expiry date on any certificates presented. (REMEMBER: If a patient can’t provide proof, mark the ‘Evidence not seen’ box on the prescription);
  • Checking that any patient exemption status held on the pharmacy’s PMR system is regularly reviewed and kept up to date;
  • Informing the person claiming exemption from payment of NHS prescription charges (where evidence is required but not provided) that NHS checks are routinely undertaken to verify their entitlement, as part of arrangements for preventing or detecting fraud or error. Patients who claim free prescriptions that they’re not entitled to, may have to pay a penalty charge of up to £100;
  • Advising patients on Universal Credit who meet the eligibility criteria to tick the income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance box (K) on the back of the prescription;
  • Advising patients who are unsure of their entitlement to pay for their prescription(s) and provide them with an FP57 receipt with information on how to claim a refund (within three months) if they can later confirm that they are entitled. Further information for patients can be found at nhs.uk/healthcosts;
  • Signposting patients currently paying for their prescriptions that they may benefit from buying a prescription prepayment certificate or applying for the NHS Low Income Scheme, where appropriate;
  • Ensuring that the appropriate messages are given to those collecting prescriptions that have been sent electronically to the pharmacy; and
  • Reminding those collecting prescriptions on someone else’s behalf to check the eligibility of the person they are claiming for before they tick.

 

Useful resources

 

About the campaign

‘Check before you tick’ is an ongoing campaign from NHS England and NHS Improvement to help people understand their eligibility for free NHS prescriptions and to avoid possible penalty charges.

The campaign has been developed based on insights from the audience and will particularly focus on those making benefit-related claims who felt they needed more support to understand that they are not always automatically exempt.

The campaign will also encourage people who pay for their prescriptions to take advantage of other means of reducing costs, such as prepayment certificates and the NHS Low Income Scheme.



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