Free prescriptions (England) – exemption certificate

Free prescriptions (England) – exemption certificate

If you are under 60, living in England, and you use insulin or medicine to manage your diabetes you are entitled to free prescriptions but you must have a medical exemption certificate before you can claim them. (Prescriptions are free for everybody in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)

There has been a crackdown on people with diabetes in England claiming free prescriptions without an exemption certificate and this has led to some people being fined up to £100. If you have been issued with a fine and received no reminder letter, then you can call the NHS BSA and explain this to them – the telephone number is 0300 330 9291.

What now?
The Health Minister has reported that a new process has been introduced whereby if someone has made a claim for medical (or maternity) exemption, and there is no evidence they hold an exemption certificate, they will still receive a penalty charge, but this can be cancelled if they submit a valid application for a medical (or maternity) exemption certificate within 60 days of the receipt of the penalty charge notice.

Where a penalty surcharge has already been paid, a payment equal to the amount of the surcharge will be refunded but not the cost of the prescription.

How to obtain a medical exemption certificate
If you want to claim free prescriptions you need a medical exemption certificate.

  • Obtain form FP92A from your GP surgery.
  • Complete the form and return it to your GP for signing and the surgery will send it off.

If you do not have a certificate or your application is being processed, you will need to pay for your prescription. Ask your pharmacist for a FP57 receipt and refund claim form so that you will be able to claim the money back once your certificate has been issued. (It is backdated by a month from when it is issued.)

The certificate is valid for 5 years and you should receive a renewal reminder letter a month before it expires.
To pay a fine, see the rules on having a certificate or to contact the service, go to the NHS NBA website