NHS England and the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has launched a nationwide campaign to help people understand their eligibility for free prescriptions.

The ‘Check Before You Tick’ campaign, which runs until December, will encourage patients to check whether they are entitled to free prescriptions before claiming them to help reduce the £256 million cost per year to the NHS when people incorrectly claim them for free.

Patients will be able to access a new online tool to help everyone to understand the government’s eligibility criteria for free prescriptions, while pharmacists will be provided with a communications toolkit, posters, and point of sale materials to display in their pharmacy to explain the rules.

Anyone incorrectly claiming a free prescription risks a penalty charge of up to £100 from the NHS Business Services Authority which carries out prescription checks each month.

Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for NHS England said: “Free prescriptions ensure that at-risk groups of people get the medication they need, but it’s crucial that this support also offers best value for taxpayers. Pharmacy teams are at the front-line in helping people understand the criteria for free prescriptions, and because mistaken claims place an extra cost burden on the NHS, it’s important that patients, carers and pharmacists know how and when they can make a claim.” 

A ‘Check Before You Tick’ pharmacy communications toolkit is available here

The online eligibility checker can be accessed here.

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