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Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by molivers73, Nov 26, 2014.
Well done @Lex_Ley
I wonder if pharmacists who have not asked for an exemption certificate are going to face any problems? How many of you facing fines were asked to provide evidence when you picked up your prescription?
Exemptions From the Prescription Charge
REF: Drug Tariff Part XVI
Prescription Charge Refunds
As part of a pharmacy’s Terms of Service, pharmacy staff must ask any person who makes a declaration that the patient is exempt from paying a prescription charge to produce satisfactory evidence of such entitlement. The legislative requirement is set out in paragraph 7 of the Terms of Service, which is available to view here.
Where appropriate, pharmacy staff should advise patients of the required certificates and how they might go about obtaining them (e.g. Medical Exemption Certificates required for patients suffering from diabetes, epilepsy etc. as well as exemption certificates on maternity grounds, low income, or Prescription Prepayment Certificates (PPC)).
Thank you @catherinecherub for making the effort to find this info and make it available here.
NAPP the organisation for National Patient Participation Groups have today released a bulletin giving details of "fines".... This will go out to all GP Patient Groups that have joined. They mention diabetes.co.uk.
They haven't got all the details correct so perhaps @Administrator or @giverney could give them correct details... Ie they are charging for the cost of the medication as well and also that they are officially named as "penalty charges" and the full details of how these charges have been brought in.
Or anybody else here could contact NAPP.org and put them right???
Hi OP here I have been told there is no right of appeal and still haven't paid it. Seems we are being told different things! Update:However after speaking to them this morning the fine has been waived. I told them the truth that I have never been informed or asked to produce.
Just been told I don't have to pay so not guilty of fraud your honour!!!!!!
This sounds like they have just been trying it on, to see how much cash they could rake in before people got wise fo the legal framework. I think those that have paid should write asking for a refund and take it to the health ombudsman if necessary.
i am argueing about this fighting my fine to be waived.had a medical exemption card in 03.never had to show it.i did this til 2015.i signed not knowing it had run out.about a month ago got a charge and fine.i rung up said it runs out after 5 years.explained no reminder .but moved address.i think it was because i changed my chemist./i said if the pharmacy staff had said my card was out of date.i would of had choice to leave the tablets.and would not of got the fine.they have stated its not the pharmacys responseability.i said it on the internet it is.they should check.it caused alot of stress as i had signed in good faith.from 03.so should of renewed in 08.scarey.
The fact is the NHS is in a mess because the government have no idea how to run a business. This isn't my opinion, you only have to look at just about everything they have poured money into. The road network is a classic example. They spend billions on pointless traffic calming schemes which don't work and in many cases make the roads more dangerous, yet have no money to fill in potholes. So they're trying to recoup as much money as possible from as many people as they can, and the general public are the easiest targets. That's what most governments do.
I don't have diabetes but have joined here to specifically comment on this thread. I am not a lawyer but played a major part in getting the law changed with regard to parking fines. When the control of "illegal" parking was switched from the police to the councils, many councils issued parking fines. However this was wrong - because only a court, not a council, can issue a fine. I pursued my local council telling them that their fines were invalid. Long story short, they eventually had to change the wording to the now-universlly used term "penalty charge". My local council were told to repay millions in illegal parking "fines" as a result, but never did do and certainly made no attempts to publish the fact.
The simple fact is they don't care - they just want your money; how or why they get it doesn't matter. The parking scam goes on, needless double yellow lines absolutely everywhere making it all but impossible to legally park in most towns, even on the outskirts, so you are at their mercy.
The important thing here is that you are NOT being fined. As I mentioned, ONLY a court can fine you. What the authority want you to do is pay up and not challenge it to make their life easier. They are not lawyers and do not know how to deal properly with a challenge. That's why a lot of you are getting wrong answers from them, geared to make you give up and pay up.
Worthy of note:
1. The NHS Business Services Authority took over dealing with the issue of prescription charges in September 2014 so they're not likely to bring up anything before that date.
2. The court will NOT investigate you. The court will only act upon evidence offered to it and make a decision based on that evidence.
For example, much like unpaid parking penalty notices, the court won't ask for the circumstances in which you were parked, they only want to know why you haven't paid. If you haven't disputed the issue prior to court you have little chance in court - in fact parking "fines" are now pretty much rubber stamped, you don't even get a hearing.
3. It is YOUR responsibility to get the required certificate or documentation, not that or the doctor or chemist. As with any point of the law, ignorance is no excuse.
4. The pharmacy do not have to see any evidence. They have the option to mark the prescription in the "Pharmacy use only - Evidence not seen" area on the rear of the prescription; that's them covered but not you.
How to fight:
If you don't have a certificate and should have, you're guilty. End of. You can appeal and tell them that you have never been asked for one, or you didn't know, or that the doctor/chemist advised you wrongly but if you do you are admitting your guilt so you're not putting up a very good fight. It's no good bleating about it, they are not interested in your feelings or your bad luck, they want your money.
First of all I would pay the prescription fee if you don't have a cert, using the automated service. don't ring them, the more you say, the more you incriminate yourself. DON'T pay the "fine" or penalty charge. I personally believe that you have a good case here and here's why:
The penalty charge is for non-payment of the prescription fees. This is made clear in the second letter you receive which tells you that you were asked to "verify your exemption status or pay the outstanding prescription charges plus a penalty charge." The important point here is that there does not appear to be a reason why the charge has been added, whether it's for non payment of the prescription charges or for not producing the evidence that you are entitled to free prescriptions (verifying your exemption status), but a court would likely take it that the charge was for the actual "offence", that being non-payment. So if you pay, they are less likely to pursue you through the courts for non-payment of the penalty charge. Courts do not take kindly to claims for small amounts.
Next, get your certificate as soon as possible and write to them telling tham that "although you believe you are entitled to free prescriptions you have paid the charge on this occasion as an act of good faith and that you have a valid certificate". DO NOT tell them you have only just obtained it, the more you say the more you are likely to put your foot in it.
Going to court
If it does go to court it is ESSENTIAL that you then file a counterclaim for your time. That means that the case is automatically transferred to your local county court, which again means that they are more likely to drop it especially if you live some considertable distance from their offices, as they would have to hire a local solicitor to fight their corner (this is usually how it is done). County courts generally only pay nominal expenses whatever it has cost them, thus defeating the object of trying to get money out of you.
However if you do happen to get a jobsworth who insists on continuing to pursue it you might be better off paying up. If it does go to court, you are relying on sympathy of the judge and when you're fighting the authorities you're unlikely to get it - remember, technically you ARE guilty of not having the correct documentation and tht's why you got the charge in the first place.
But read on - you can fight. It's not all bad news - this is all based on legislation in the National Health Service Act 2006. If you want to fight it is worth noting the following:
1. There is NOTHING in that Act that states that you have to prove exemption (or otherwise) within a certain time frame.
2. There is NOTHING in law to state that you even have to prove you were exempt at the time at all, although if the matter goes to court you might then have to prove it to the courts.
My point here is that if you want to fight you can gain some time at least by writing back to them asking them questions that the clerical staff dealing with the issue will not be able to answer, such as where in law does it state that you are asked to provide proof, where in law does it state that you must pay within a certain time frame and so on. What I am getting at is that if you pay for the prescription you then have a very good argument that the charges do not apply because there is NO LAW IN EXISTENCE that says you must pay for the prescription at the time you obtained the items on it, so once you have paid there really is no case to answer.
NOTE: This is only my opinion but I have thoroughly researched any legal facts and this system has worked for very many people.
1. Pay for the prescription.
2. Obtain your certificate.
3. Argue the toss about any other charges.
Remember if they take the matter to court they have to prove that you deliberately tried to obtain them free fraudulently if they decide to go down that route, which since all you diabetics are entitled to free prescriptions anyway that isn't going to happen. If they take you to court for non-payment of the penalty charges then you can put a decent case together based on the above. It's very rare it goes to court because it isn't worth their while, and it is only a civil action for recovery of an outstanding debt, not for non-payment of a fine because it isn't a fine - I repeat, it is very important to understand this.
Hope this helps.
Fantastic advice @coolcity. It's great to have you on our side!
Thank you for taking the time to join this forum with your advice @coolcity. I think you have given some invaluable pointers for members who have been issued with this "penalty fine".
These penalty charges are they actually able to take you to court to ask for you to be fined?
Only thing I actually consider here is that Lidls and Aldi's all send disgusting letters if you are 3 mins or less over their alloted time in their carparks. Huge amounts of people have paid because they are so threatening... And yet apparently they don't actually take you to court.
I got two of their "fines" paid one before looking up on the net... Only to find that I should have ignored as they couldn't take me to court. The second "fine" I ignored and have never heard from them since.
Just wondered what the difference actually is... Is it because Lidl's supposed fines are a civil matter?
Possibly DD, didn't the government recently clampdown on the extortionate parking charges that some private firms were charging for people parking their vehicles on private land, remember some people were having their cars clamped and towed away and were having to pay hundreds of pounds for their vehicles to be released when overstaying or not buying a valid parking ticket.
There isn't a difference really. It's a civil issue, no different to that of Lidl/Aldi. Basically they have sent you an invoice, in this case dressed up in the form of a "penalty charge", and all they can claim for in the county court is for an unpaid bill. Your case would then be to argue why you don't think tghe "bill" is due, for example if you had already paid the prescription charge.
As I'm not diabetic there isn't a lot of general interest in this forum for me, but I will gladly try to advise if necessary though please remember I am not a legal advisor, solicitor or lawyer but have a lot of experience and have never paid a parking ticket in over 30 years' driving.
Agree totally. I'm just adding my experience to the mix as a lot of people seem to be concerned about issues like fraud (for example). The most important point you made is that fraud has to have an intent to actually be fraud, and that has to be proven to the satisfaction of a court.
Anybody who qualifies for free prescriptions because they are diabetic can rest easy as you say, because it's impossible to be 'done' for fraud for something that you are legally entitled to. The fact is that it would be so difficult to prove that it is highly unlikely that anybody who has been claiming free prescriptions who SHOULD have paid would be unlikely to ever be prosecuted for fraud.
I would just like like to thank all the positive posters and hope anyone else who has been fined will have theirs waived.
Hi everyone, just wanted to let you all know I've had my penalty charge.notice cancelled. I'm not sure what action actually made this happen but I did send them a very angry email and asked my mp to intervene as well.
The letter they have sent me informing of this descision is really patronising and full of inaccuracies such as 'you have been diabetic since 1989' - I haven't! They now seem to say they sent me a fine because the check in October had my old address on it - I didnt inform them of my new address until January so not sure how this works either.
I dont really want to question them about it incase they find another reason to fine me but I will be continuing to discuss this matter with my mp as I feel it is a huge waste of nhs resources on something ridiculous.
Good luck to everyone else who is challenging their penalty charge notice!
Sent from the Diabetes Forum App
Please can someone tell me where to get a form from? Thank you
This explains the procedure @KellyBarron and welcome to the forum.
Hi I'm new to forums as when my other half was diagnosed with type one diabetes 14 years ago , I knew nothing of diabetic forums. I came across your group by accident as he recieved a penalty charge letter last night - percription charges for £96.60. A little Google reseach later and here I've found this dicussion.
I am completely surprised that so many other diabetics are dealing with the same thing.
My partner, He has a valid medical exemption card which expires in 2018, so I rang the 0300 number this morning just to say "he's not paying, here's his number, here's his valid to and from dates." She of course did not want to speak to me, but among her protests I gave her the information and told her to note it down that we will not be paying for his insulin, then she said something like they have to double check if he is really diabetic as his needles could be used for other purposes, I said to her "impossible, he uses a pen and as much as you cam change the needle tip, they cannot be refilled." She told me to expect another letter of non compliance.
Just adding my 2 cents incase it helps someone