WARNING - NHS Prescription Prepayment - Penalty Charge Trap

Do you currently prepay for prescriptions using the NHS service.?
Are you approaching your 60th birthday.?

If so, look out you may get caught out with a nasty £100 Penalty Charge, as I have.

A warning to anyone currently using the NHS prescription prepayment service and aged 59..
There’s a anomaly in the system which cancels the Direct Debit of anyone who will reach the age of 60 in the 12 months following renewal.
Note: this may not be communicated to the patient.
If subsequently you collect a prescription and select the ‘free option’ believing you are covered, the NHS will fine you.
You will be fined I rrespective of the fact the NHS website states ‘this Direct Debit will continue unless cancelled by the patient’.
Irrespective of the fact a certificate with qualifying dates may not be issued.
Irrespective of the fact no notice or warning is posted out to the user advising them the NHS are set to cancel the DD..
Irrespective of the fact the NHS’s own staff are widely unaware of this automated function within their system.
(75% of those I spoke with had no clue this would happen).

If like me, you subsequently collect a prescription believing in all honesty you are covered, their system issues this penalty.

Unfortunately none of those administrating the service are willing to accept that the fine is generated not because of the actions of the patient, but instead directly as a result of a little known anomaly of their own system.

An expensive lesson learned for me, hopefully others reading this will not be equally affected.

Has anyone else out there suffered similarly with this Booby trap.?


  • Thanks, looking across the tinterweb it’s clear this is an issue many have faced.
    It’s quite a trick by the NHS, to first cancel the patients DD, then charge them for them having no DD.
     I wonder how many 59 year olds have been charged a Prescription Penalty because the NHS system cancelled their DD’s without warning.

  • I've just been hit by this - not just for one month, but for two months as it took that long for them to send me the first penalty charge. So I am facing £230 of charges (currently, and of course that would increase if not paid by the dates given). 

    They are refusing to cancel the fines at the moment, and I have asked for evidence of their notification to me that the prepayment would cease. Yes, it is on the website, but I last looked at the T&C on these 'quite a while ago'. 

    Just not fair for someone who bides by the system. The system is evidently unfair. 

    Beware you 59 year olds! 
  • The sensible way to run this for 59 year olds, is to take the prepayment as usual and then once the user turns 60, send them the letter cancelling the prepayment and a refund for that not used. 

    But maybe that is just too sensible. 
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