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prescription Penalty fines - anyone actually been taken to court?

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I face a massive fine I can't pay because I ticked the box on my prescription saying I was eligible for free prescriptions.

This is because I am on working tax credit

 

 

I asked the chemist if this meant I got free prescriptions (I was on benefits years ago, i forgot how it works with prescriptions).

He said yes, and I ticked the box and got my fee prescription.

 

Then I got a letter saying I was being fined (including what my prescriptions should have cost) £139. I

realise, having tried to appeal unsuccessfully,

that the onus is one me to read the form and know if I am eligible or not. Fair enough

(not really as I've read a lot of accounts of this happening and by now chemists, dental nurses etc,

should have been told that they shouldn't falsely tell someone they will be free,

they should either have the right information or be told 'read the form,

I cannot tell you, and if you get it wrong they'll fine you £100+)

 

 

but the fine is so excessive I can't pay and feel it is unfair and don't want to pay.

 

You can tell me I am in the wrong if you like, and should pay.

But my question is has anyone actually been taken to court to recover the money?

I've looked around the internet and can't find anyone who has.

So what if I just don't pay, what will happen?

 

Thanks.

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Have a read of the attachment that may answer your question...

 

 

Patient Prescription Fraud

 

'A man who registered himself and his wife at multiple GP practices across England and Wales, in order to obtain an addictive painkiller, received a year’s imprisonment, suspended for 2 years. He pleaded guilty to 14 offences of Fraud by False Representation, under Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

 

A further 433 offences were taken into consideration. The value of the fraud represents a loss to the NHS of £31,520.52. He also received an 18 month Supervision Order, which is subject to three-monthly Probation Service reports. He is required to wear an electronic tag and was handed a six month curfew, operational between 6.00pm and 6.00am.'

 

 

Info from here >> http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&ved=0ahUKEwiVhqS37eDKAhUBtxQKHTAxB4QQFghTMAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newarkandsherwood.nhs.uk%2Ffile_download%2F946%2FFraud%2BCase%2BStudies%2B(3). pdf&usg=AFQjCNFzZgFCWxYt6Btbz_HhcQPuXM4i6w&sig2=kZTcmE-25Kv98WtsAvTn9A

Fraud Case Studies (3).pdf


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You might be able to appeal the penalty... Read similar threads here >> http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?438446-NHS-Prescription-charges-penalty-charge-notice

Edited by dx100uk
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All of those cases are absolutely shocking!

 

The 'register at multiple practices' trick to get certain medications is, although not related to the OP's case, a massive problem for us in general practice. The most common issue is with Co-Codamol (Zapain) in the 30/500 strength. It's astonishing the lengths that people will go to in order to obtain a supply of it.

 

We have several 'zapain ladies' who will visit neighbouring surgeries explaining that their supply has been lost, left in a friend's house etc etc... Thankfully we very quickly get to know them and encourage our colleagues to call us to check the visitor's prescription status, our local chemists are now in on the act too and will call us to check they're not dispensing too much.

 

Sorry, digression from the OP's question there...

 

OP, try to appeal it if you still have time to do so. The NHSBSA are notoriously 'keen' on recovering sums due, even us practice staff are scared of them...

Edited by dx100uk
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Sp do you know of anyone they actually took to court?

 

Thanks.

Edited by dx100uk
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Personally, no. I don't know of anyone they've taken to court. I do however know of colleagues in other practices that have faced enforcement action, I don't doubt that had they not complied then the NHSBSA wouldn't have just forgotten about it...

 

I'd advise taking some proper advice from perhaps citizens advice and to see if you can reach an agreement with them.


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Personally, no. I don't know of anyone they've taken to court. I do however know of colleagues in other practices that have faced enforcement action, I don't doubt that had they not complied then the NHSBSA wouldn't have just forgotten about it...

 

I'd advise taking some proper advice from perhaps citizens advice and to see if you can reach an agreement with them.

 

 

And I think they may well do - because they have issued tens of thousands of these, with many many people online saying they can't afford to pay/won't pay, even a few news stories, an old guy in the local paper saying he will fight them in court. But I can't find anyone saying they went to court and lost. Or were taken to court. Like a lot of companies (I realise it's the NHS/Govt not a company) they can say they will take you to court as a scare tactic, but may not do that. I am not looking to appeal, I am not looking to write to my MP, I want to see if they will take me to court for these punitive fines which are still a tiny amount of money to take someone to court for.

 

If anyone can find one story of someone being actually taken to court, getting a CCJ etc, I'll be amazed.

 

Thanks.

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Having googled, I cant see anything where someone has been taken to court in a similar circumstance to the OP. Where large scale fraudulent claims to free prescriptions such as those highlighted by think about it - I can understand and agree with court action.

 

A genuine one off error should be excused.

 

All I could find was the following which allows for an appeal of a penalty..

 

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-02-04/223505/

 

 

Written Question asked by Sir Bob Russell - Colchester - 2015

 

The National Health Service (Penalty Charge) Regulations 1999 set out that where a person fails to pay a NHS charge which they are liable to pay, they may be issued with a penalty notice. The penalty charge is a civil fine – it is five times the amount a person should have paid, up to £100. This is on top of the original prescription charge, currently £8.05 per item. Where a person fails to pay the penalty charge within a period of 28 days, the penalty charge will be increased by 50%.

 

The NHS Act 2006 (section 194) allows for a fine of up to £2,500 (level 4 on the standard scale, Criminal Justice Act 1982) for those found guilty of knowingly making a false claim to exemption from prescription charges.

 

A person who wishes to challenge the request for payment of a penalty charge by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), may explain their circumstances to the NHSBSA and if they can demonstrate to the NHSBSA’s satisfaction that they did not act wrongfully, or with any lack of care, they will not be subject to a penalty charge. The NHSBSA also has discretion to waive the penalty charge where the person concerned provides compelling reasons for making an incorrect claim for exception. A person who is not satisfied with the handling of their case may use the NHS complaints process to make a complaint against the NHSBSA. Ultimately, this can be escalated to the Health Service Ombudsman.


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I've appealed twice, they won't budge. It is your responsibility to know your eligibility and to read the form you sign the bottom of, and that's it as far as they're concerned. Some people that were on outdated NHS Exemption cards have had some success I read, but that's not me, I am on a very low income. (And I know I can get help with NHS costs on a low income - well I don't qualify there either.)

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would suggest that if you want a quick answer then carry on and let them/might take you to court, many of us have had these charges because we understood certain unemployment benefits were cover ( dental area) and ended up paying a fine when even the claimant had no income, gross misleading paperwork of entitlement, if you have income based jobseeker's you pay if not you do not, delay cost automatic in creases.

 

 

for a sure answer is if you are trying to find a way out of paying then I am sure others would be interested to see if they take you to court and the Gross outcome of cost.

 

Since a few years now NHS have been told to recover misuse of the system (albeit complicated) as was pointed out to me last year??? just a suggestion!

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I'll let you know. Yes its been a few years since they rolled this out, 2009 I think, so there should be some court cases. Mine is already at the top level of fine increases (twice) and they say court is their next option. What, small claims court? Sure if you laugh in their faces and admit you lied on purpose, looks like you could be in trouble. If I shuffle into court there with me gammy leg saying the chemist said it would be fine there's always a Judge who will make their own mind up and say its unfair for some reason, and the NHS can't afford to take that chance. Not for £150. What are court costs, another couple of hundred? Then you can pay them all back at £2 a week (if memory serves from the last time, about 30 years ago). It's worth a shot at this point.

 

edit - its a CCJ against you I suppose. But let me see these people the NHS have taken to court because they trusted their chemists advice, where are they? x

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I do not know the exact answer to this but is it not obvious if you are entitled to free or not, do you not have a current in date NHS exemption certificate card, with a valid from and to date on and certificate number etc...

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To save you from further enforcement you can ask for a prescription card which tells the Pharmacy staff what your entitlement is and if you wish to ask them to fill in the form for you.

 

This is what I do they also enter the unique identifying number from the card to the prescription as well. Hope this info helps you stop getting fines in the future..


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I'll let you know. Yes its been a few years since they rolled this out, 2009 I think, so there should be some court cases. Mine is already at the top level of fine increases (twice) and they say court is their next option. What, small claims court? Sure if you laugh in their faces and admit you lied on purpose, looks like you could be in trouble. If I shuffle into court there with me gammy leg saying the chemist said it would be fine there's always a Judge who will make their own mind up and say its unfair for some reason, and the NHS can't afford to take that chance. Not for £150. What are court costs, another couple of hundred? Then you can pay them all back at £2 a week (if memory serves from the last time, about 30 years ago). It's worth a shot at this point.

 

edit - its a CCJ against you I suppose. But let me see these people the NHS have taken to court because they trusted their chemists advice, where are they? x

 

 

Hi there, I am just wondering if you were ever taken to court over this? Or did you just ignore them?

Thanks

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You mentioned that a pharmacy member of staff gave you wrong advice which is below acceptable working performance.

 

 

Have you considered to formally complaint against them?

 

 

Providing you have written evidence that you were wrongly advised, your case could be reconsidered.

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Im another who would argue that perscription fraud should concern itself more with the Pharmacy than the patient,.....why?

 

I am a type1 diabetic of 35 years and without doubt every perscription, that I supply the pharmacist is shy off one or two items. I am always told to call back tomorrow but I rarely do. A month later I call my health centre for another repeat perscription and the cycle begins again.

 

PS: I receive all insulin and other medication free due to being Diabetic and honestly feel that pharmacies see us as Cash Cows.

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"I am always told to call back tomorrow but I rarely do" : how is this the pharmacy's fault?.

 

Don't wait until you run out of an item. Order your repeats a few days before you'll need them. Don't go the day the scrip is in the pharmacy, go the next day (or go back to collect the items "owed")

 

You can arrange for your prescriptions to go to a particular pharmacy to avoid multiple trips.

 

My GP's has electronic / online prescribing. Patients can request repeat prescriptions online, checking the GP's have then approved them (so, not an "item needing review").

The prescription can be collected as a paper prescription or sent direct to a nominated pharmacy. So, if a patient puts in a request to be sent direct to the pharmacy and goes to the pharmacy the day after they have received the prescription : even if the pharmacy had been out of stock of some items the previous day, most times only one trip would be needed, and no extra repeat prescriptions (from you not picking up "out of stock / 'backorder' items)

 

Type 1 diabetes for 35 years?. Surely you know how the prescription/ pharmacy system works by now??

Yet you want to blame them for the extra prescriptions generated by you not going back for "items owed"?

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Good. I can't wait to meet them!

They have tried to "fine" me too. Unfortunately for them it was the same week I returned from Scotland (?) after visiting my sister. If there are any more mugs like me out there listen carefully...

 

"IF YOU LIVE IN SCOTLAND YOU DO NOT PAY FOR ANY PRESCRIPTIONS, EVEN IF YOU'RE A MILLIONAIRE. YET WHETER YOU'RE SCOTTISH, WELSH OR ENGLISH, WE ALL PAY THE SAME AMOUNT INTO THE SAME NHS"

 

It is a national, i.e., UK, disgrace. It is a form of bribery, along with other financial gifts (Scottish Kids going to University do NOT pay anything, whereas English children must pat £1,000's) To keep them in the Union yet we are all paying the same tax rate into the same Westminster tax pot. Oh, I hope they take me to court!

 

And perhaps this is the reason why it is impossible to find a clear case where they have actually taken someone to court for none payment?

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I do hear you Bazza but my GP is thirty miles away where I work. I have a good relationship with my GP & surgery and do not appreciate wasting my launch hour at my local to work pharmacy. The medications I take namely insulin are common place yet they are always not in stock when I arrive/require.

 

I do appreciate that they can deliver the drugs but as I said I do live 30 miles away and does the tax payer pay for this service or is the pharmacist responsible?

 

I guess im just having a moan. :(

 

 

 

"I am always told to call back tomorrow but I rarely do" : how is this the pharmacy's fault?.

 

Don't wait until you run out of an item. Order your repeats a few days before you'll need them. Don't go the day the scrip is in the pharmacy, go the next day (or go back to collect the items "owed")

 

You can arrange for your prescriptions to go to a particular pharmacy to avoid multiple trips.

 

My GP's has electronic / online prescribing. Patients can request repeat prescriptions online, checking the GP's have then approved them (so, not an "item needing review").

The prescription can be collected as a paper prescription or sent direct to a nominated pharmacy. So, if a patient puts in a request to be sent direct to the pharmacy and goes to the pharmacy the day after they have received the prescription : even if the pharmacy had been out of stock of some items the previous day, most times only one trip would be needed, and no extra repeat prescriptions (from you not picking up "out of stock / 'backorder' items)

 

Type 1 diabetes for 35 years?. Surely you know how the prescription/ pharmacy system works by now??

Yet you want to blame them for the extra prescriptions generated by you not going back for "items owed"?

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Not deliver the drugs : deliver the prescription.

The GP can (probably) send it electronically.

 

Alternatively: phone the pharmacy when you have the scrip if you continue with paper scrips.

"I'd like to bring in a scrip for "whatever insulin" (+/- any other items!) tomorrow. Previously you've been out of stock sometimes. Can you please put them aside / get them in for me".

 

Yes, it means you have to make the effort that (in an ideal world) shouldn't be required. Yet you can choose "fix the problem" or "just moan about it"!

Edited by dx100uk
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It's worth saying that unless you're in a seriously rural area, and by that I mean mid wales or the highlands then the pharmacist can order just about anything in for next day delivery. If it's the back end of nowhere then it's two days. It's the responsibility of the patient to ensure they've got enough. We've thousands of people to care for and we can't be checking people's cupboards too.


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That's me told. ;)

 

Why don't the pharmacy have the iou perscriptions already made up and then when I manage to return someone goes ....."Ah Mr Buffet we have a perscription here owing to you" never ever in my 35years of repeat perscriptions has this occured. On the very rare occasion that I ever have returned to get IOU, I have been looked at as if I am a pain in their butt! .....just my experience! As someone said " Have you ever seen a poor bookie?" I would apply the same logic to pharmacists.

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Interestingly, in terms of the way a Pharmacy is paid it makes more sense to try to fill the prescription in the most simple way possible by doing it in one go. It's less efficient and more expensive to have to spilt packs of medication and in terms of the uncollected amount well, they wouldn't be paid for it as they can only claim for what's actually been dispensed.

 

In terms of keeping stock, one of my favourite complaints from a patient was that they expected us to rifle through other patients' prepared prescription bags to see if the medication they'd neglected to order on time was in there and someone else could wait. Such was their self-importance. But, with some items it doesn't make much sense to have them all labelled up and ready to go on a maybe. Especially if they're fridge items. Far better that it's made ready on request and not unnecessarily handled.


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OP, did you ever get anywhere with this? I know the thread is nearly a year old, so I'm thinking by now, you must have had a resolution one way or another?

 

I'm asking, because, as people might guess, I am having problems with them, and I have just told them to take me to court if they want the penalty charge. About to start a quick thread on this.

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