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New rules to stop diabetes fines

by Helen Mooney
20 March 2015

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Health minister Dan Poulter has committed the Government to changing the system for checking free prescriptions to stop people with diabetes being unfairly fined. 

Since September, thousands of people with diabetes have been fined up to £100 for claiming free prescriptions because they did not have a valid medical exemption certificate. This is despite a large proportion of people with diabetes and healthcare professionals not being aware that free prescriptions must be claimed with an exemption certificate.

In recognition that many people with diabetes are falling foul of the system Mr Poulter has asked the NHS Business Services Authority to change the process so that fines will be cancelled if people submit a valid application for a medical exemption certificate within 60 days of being contacted. He has also agreed to do more to let people with diabetes know that they need an exemption certificate.

In England people aged between 18 – 60 who use insulin or medicine to manage their diabetes are entitled to claim free prescriptions but must apply for and present a valid medical exemption certificate.