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Penalty system for free prescription claims must be “more humane,” say MPs

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 20 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5660
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The current system of penalty charge notices, which is supposed to discourage people from claiming free prescriptions they are not entitled to, is “heavy handed” and needs to be “substantially overhauled,” MPs have said.1

After reviewing the system the House of Commons Public Account Committee found that it “penalises those who fail to navigate the overly complex exemption criteria and neglects clear evidence of abuse by repeat offenders.”

It also said that the Department of Health and Social Care for England and NHS England have been “shockingly complacent about the fundamental problems with the PCN [penalty charge notice] …

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