Fines for claiming free prescriptions rose by 30% last yearBMJ 2019; 364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l651 (Published 08 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l651
- Gareth Iacobucci
- The BMJ
The number of penalty prescription charges issued to patients in England rose by a third last year and has increased by 60% in the past three years, The BMJ has learnt.
Figures released under freedom of information legislation show that 1 379 957 penalty notices were issued in 2018. Previous numbers were 1 052 430 in 2017 and 864 366 in 2016.
The figures were disclosed by the NHS Business Services Authority, which issues the penalty charges if it believes that a patient has incorrectly claimed free NHS prescriptions or free or reduced cost dental treatment.
The disclosure comes amid a major government crackdown on prescription fraud.1 The NHS estimates that this type of fraud costs £256m (€290m; $330m) a year and has set a target to halve the losses by 2020. It launched a national campaign in September 2018, alerting patients that they needed …