Prescription fraudsters in Somerset warned of hefty fines

Bridgwater Mercury: Prescription fraudsters in Somerset warned of hefty fines Prescription fraudsters in Somerset warned of hefty fines

PATIENTS trying to con the NHS have been warned it could end up costing them dear.

The warning comes after it emerged that 836 patients in Somerset were given penalty notices after falsely claiming they were exempt from prescription charges.

The NHS Counter Fraud Service in the county recovered over £14,000 in fines last year from people trying to skip the £8.05 charge for medicines when they should have paid.

The service’s Andy Knight said anyone avoiding paying their dues could end up having to fork out £98.30 instead of £8.05 – as well as paying back the charge, they could be hit with a fine of five times the original fee up to a maximum of £100 and a further £50 if they don’t cough up within 28 days.

Mr Knight said 14% of claims checked last year were not eligible for exemption, down from 22% the previous year.

He added: “We recognise that patients can and do make genuine mistakes when it comes to declaring whether they are or are not exempt from prescription charges.

“The work carried out by our Counter Fraud Compliance Team shows a reduction in the overall levels of patient charge evasion during 2013/14, but there still remains a significant level of patient charge evasion to be addresses.

WHO’S ENTITLED TO FREE PRESCRIPTIONS?

*People aged 60 or over or 16 and under.

*If you’re 16 to 18 in full-time education.

*Pregnant women or mothers of babies under a year with a maternity exemption certificate.

*People with a specified medical condition with a medical exemption certificate (MedEx).

*If you have a continuing physical disability preventing you from going out without help and with a MedEx.

*If you have a war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your disability.

*NHS inpatients.

*If you or your partner are entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption or HC2 certificate.

*If you receive income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.

For further details click on the NHS England - Health Costs related link on this story.

 

Comments (4)

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4:21pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Somerset_BTGOG says...

WHO’S ENTITLED TO FREE PRESCRIPTIONS?

You forgot to include -

*If you are Scottish.

*If you are Welsh.

*If you are Northern Irish.


Why should the English subsidise everyone else?
WHO’S ENTITLED TO FREE PRESCRIPTIONS? You forgot to include - *If you are Scottish. *If you are Welsh. *If you are Northern Irish. Why should the English subsidise everyone else? Somerset_BTGOG
  • Score: -14

9:50pm Wed 2 Jul 14

feeby12007 says...

Somerset_BTGOG wrote:
WHO’S ENTITLED TO FREE PRESCRIPTIONS?

You forgot to include -

*If you are Scottish.

*If you are Welsh.

*If you are Northern Irish.


Why should the English subsidise everyone else?
Well said
[quote][p][bold]Somerset_BTGOG[/bold] wrote: WHO’S ENTITLED TO FREE PRESCRIPTIONS? You forgot to include - *If you are Scottish. *If you are Welsh. *If you are Northern Irish. Why should the English subsidise everyone else?[/p][/quote]Well said feeby12007
  • Score: -16

9:59pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Miss tree 118 says...

I have a medical exemption card but am rarely asked to show my card when I tick the medical exemption box. Perhaps pharmacy staff should be more vigilant.
I have a medical exemption card but am rarely asked to show my card when I tick the medical exemption box. Perhaps pharmacy staff should be more vigilant. Miss tree 118
  • Score: 6

11:10am Mon 7 Jul 14

SocialistParty-SomersetBranch says...

Who's robbing our NHS?...

....Prescription 'fraudsters'...or Big Pharmaceuticals and the privateers?

The National Health Service is under attack as never before. In this post, a GP from north-west England looks at the effect of a huge government push for privatisation.



Privatisation threatens health

A north west GP writes:

As soon as the NHS was formed, it started to be undermined as a universal, comprehensive health system, free at the point of use.

But the process accelerated rapidly in recent years. The Coalition government's health and social care act (HSCA) which started being implemented last April, enshrines the complete denationalisation of our NHS.

During New Labour governments, the private sector began making more and more profit from healthcare, particularly through increased use of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

Private money has almost completely replaced Treasury or state funding of new hospitals.

There are now over 100 PFI hospitals which, combined, were built for £11 billion but will cost over £65 billion to pay off, due to interest paid to the private sector owners.

Not surprisingly, 22 PFI hospital trusts are in debt due to these schemes and making cuts to frontline services to finance the crisis they face.

Even the Commons Public Accounts Committee warned that PFI is unsustainable but the current government has signed off on over 40 new contracts with more under negotiation.

Public anger over the problems caused by PFI has increased as up and down the country trusts cut budgets and centralised services to try to make ends meet.

Campaigns have been fought to save A&E, maternity services, paediatric units and more.

But privatisation of health care runs much deeper than PFI and is accelerating at a pace. Services sold off over the past few years include medical supplies and the blood plasma service among many others.

Since the NHS was set up GPs traditionally had 'independent status' ie they were largely self-employed but with a contract with the NHS to provide medical services.

However most GPs see themselves as part of the NHS and don't generally undertake regular private work, although there are exceptions. The public too see them as part of the NHS.

Businesses

However, growing numbers of groups of GPs have come together to operate as 'businesses'. In some cases, contracts to run 'GP-led' health centres have been won by large private organisations like Care UK and Assura.

In others, 'GP-led companies' have come together perhaps seeing 'safety in numbers' in an unstable financial environment for healthcare.

They may have started with good intentions, aiming to bid more effectively for NHS contracts against the big private companies.

But the trend is towards these small companies expanding and winning contracts to run services across the country.

They then become more and more like the big corporations they compete for contracts with. They have commercial structures and are profit-making businesses, something not always obvious to patients.

This is an inevitable consequence of greater marketisation in the NHS, the pressure to compete and the fear of being taken over by giant health corporations.

The problem for these companies is that it's not that easy to make large profits from primary care.

One way to cut costs and increase profits is to cut the most expensive outlays - GPs themselves. Many centres did just that, cutting GP numbers and using nurses instead to run clinics or relying on newly qualified, cheaper 'salaried' GPs rather than GP partners.

The other risk of this kind of privatisation is that companies, realising the slim pickings on offer, can pull out or sell up to other organisations if they wish (as happened when Assura sold to Virgin).

This puts employees in an unstable position and patients having no real say about who provides their healthcare.

Other primary care services were transferred from the NHS into private hands. District nursing, care for people with learning disabilities and other community services have been transferred to be run by social enterprises or private companies.

Short term contracts

Often they have short-term contracts, again introducing instability into the system. Staff may have an initial agreement to protect pay and conditions but once this runs out, cuts will invariably be made.

In some cases, wages are slashed to almost half the levels under the NHS and private companies cut costs by bringing in more and more unqualified staff to do jobs previously done by trained nurses for example.

The budget for buying clinical services has now also been handed over to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) run largely by groups of GPs.

In most areas contracts for various services are up for renewal and CCGs are putting these out to tender to 'Any Qualified Provider'.

The NHS Support Federation found that between April and December 2013 70% of these contracts were awarded to private organisations.

If this trend continues, large swathes of our services will soon no longer be run by the NHS.

PFI has shown that privatisation doesn't save money and can lead to financial crisis and destabilise services. Each tendering process costs money and what happens when the contract ends?

But this destabilisation is exactly what the government intends. They aim to undermine the NHS and start to develop a privately run health system based on the model of the USA, where publicly funded treatment on the NHS will be basic and people will need private health insurance to fund anything 'extra'.

This is an ideological attack on the idea of the NHS. Cameron, Clegg and Co are more interested in protecting private companies' interests than in providing a decent health care system for the majority.

We must fight this process, which is spiralling towards the end of the NHS. The health unions must come together in coordinated action to defend this treasured service.


Profit rules

Osborne and the Tories' policies represent the drive by British capitalism to use the economic crisis to dramatically lower the share taken by the working class, including the social wage - if they can, down to pre-war levels.

At the same time they hope to partially overcome the long-term problem of capitalism in this epoch: the lack of profitable fields to invest their huge profits.

They hope that the privatisation of public services, particularly the NHS and education, will provide new investment opportunities.


Don't just get angry....get organised!!


For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
Who's robbing our NHS?... ....Prescription 'fraudsters'...or Big Pharmaceuticals and the privateers? The National Health Service is under attack as never before. In this post, a GP from north-west England looks at the effect of a huge government push for privatisation. Privatisation threatens health A north west GP writes: As soon as the NHS was formed, it started to be undermined as a universal, comprehensive health system, free at the point of use. But the process accelerated rapidly in recent years. The Coalition government's health and social care act (HSCA) which started being implemented last April, enshrines the complete denationalisation of our NHS. During New Labour governments, the private sector began making more and more profit from healthcare, particularly through increased use of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Private money has almost completely replaced Treasury or state funding of new hospitals. There are now over 100 PFI hospitals which, combined, were built for £11 billion but will cost over £65 billion to pay off, due to interest paid to the private sector owners. Not surprisingly, 22 PFI hospital trusts are in debt due to these schemes and making cuts to frontline services to finance the crisis they face. Even the Commons Public Accounts Committee warned that PFI is unsustainable but the current government has signed off on over 40 new contracts with more under negotiation. Public anger over the problems caused by PFI has increased as up and down the country trusts cut budgets and centralised services to try to make ends meet. Campaigns have been fought to save A&E, maternity services, paediatric units and more. But privatisation of health care runs much deeper than PFI and is accelerating at a pace. Services sold off over the past few years include medical supplies and the blood plasma service among many others. Since the NHS was set up GPs traditionally had 'independent status' ie they were largely self-employed but with a contract with the NHS to provide medical services. However most GPs see themselves as part of the NHS and don't generally undertake regular private work, although there are exceptions. The public too see them as part of the NHS. Businesses However, growing numbers of groups of GPs have come together to operate as 'businesses'. In some cases, contracts to run 'GP-led' health centres have been won by large private organisations like Care UK and Assura. In others, 'GP-led companies' have come together perhaps seeing 'safety in numbers' in an unstable financial environment for healthcare. They may have started with good intentions, aiming to bid more effectively for NHS contracts against the big private companies. But the trend is towards these small companies expanding and winning contracts to run services across the country. They then become more and more like the big corporations they compete for contracts with. They have commercial structures and are profit-making businesses, something not always obvious to patients. This is an inevitable consequence of greater marketisation in the NHS, the pressure to compete and the fear of being taken over by giant health corporations. The problem for these companies is that it's not that easy to make large profits from primary care. One way to cut costs and increase profits is to cut the most expensive outlays - GPs themselves. Many centres did just that, cutting GP numbers and using nurses instead to run clinics or relying on newly qualified, cheaper 'salaried' GPs rather than GP partners. The other risk of this kind of privatisation is that companies, realising the slim pickings on offer, can pull out or sell up to other organisations if they wish (as happened when Assura sold to Virgin). This puts employees in an unstable position and patients having no real say about who provides their healthcare. Other primary care services were transferred from the NHS into private hands. District nursing, care for people with learning disabilities and other community services have been transferred to be run by social enterprises or private companies. Short term contracts Often they have short-term contracts, again introducing instability into the system. Staff may have an initial agreement to protect pay and conditions but once this runs out, cuts will invariably be made. In some cases, wages are slashed to almost half the levels under the NHS and private companies cut costs by bringing in more and more unqualified staff to do jobs previously done by trained nurses for example. The budget for buying clinical services has now also been handed over to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) run largely by groups of GPs. In most areas contracts for various services are up for renewal and CCGs are putting these out to tender to 'Any Qualified Provider'. The NHS Support Federation found that between April and December 2013 70% of these contracts were awarded to private organisations. If this trend continues, large swathes of our services will soon no longer be run by the NHS. PFI has shown that privatisation doesn't save money and can lead to financial crisis and destabilise services. Each tendering process costs money and what happens when the contract ends? But this destabilisation is exactly what the government intends. They aim to undermine the NHS and start to develop a privately run health system based on the model of the USA, where publicly funded treatment on the NHS will be basic and people will need private health insurance to fund anything 'extra'. This is an ideological attack on the idea of the NHS. Cameron, Clegg and Co are more interested in protecting private companies' interests than in providing a decent health care system for the majority. We must fight this process, which is spiralling towards the end of the NHS. The health unions must come together in coordinated action to defend this treasured service. Profit rules Osborne and the Tories' policies represent the drive by British capitalism to use the economic crisis to dramatically lower the share taken by the working class, including the social wage - if they can, down to pre-war levels. At the same time they hope to partially overcome the long-term problem of capitalism in this epoch: the lack of profitable fields to invest their huge profits. They hope that the privatisation of public services, particularly the NHS and education, will provide new investment opportunities. Don't just get angry....get organised!! For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk SocialistParty-SomersetBranch
  • Score: -1
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