Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • BlueSkiesandClouds
    • By BlueSkiesandClouds 5th May 18, 6:46 PM
    • 41Posts
    • 11Thanks
    BlueSkiesandClouds
    NHS Pre-payment "fine" - how can this be allowed?
    • #1
    • 5th May 18, 6:46 PM
    NHS Pre-payment "fine" - how can this be allowed? 5th May 18 at 6:46 PM
    Hi everyone

    My partner has an NHS pre-payment card.
    For anyone that doesn't know, you pay 104 up front and then all prescription charges are covered for the year, it works out cheaper if you need more than one prescription per month.

    My partner has had this for some years for several conditions and all has been fine.

    Unfortunately, due to a mental lapse (related to her condition but that's by-the-by), she picked up some prescriptions from the chemist thinking she was still covered by the pre-payment, but she didn't realise until several weeks later that she wasn't covered as the pre-payment card had lapsed and she should have paid for them.

    She contacted the chemist as soon as she realised, offering to pay. Unfortunately they said that they didn't have the prescription forms any more, so they couldn't process a payment. The forms had been sent back to the NHS for processing at their centre.

    I contacted the NHS pre-payment centre and offered to pay for the prescriptions and they said:
    1. They have no method to take payment
    2. We'll have to wait up to a month to see if we will be fined
    3. The fine will be 100 + the cost of the prescriptions
    4. It's down to luck whether we'll be fined or not

    How on earth can this be allowed? We realised we made a mistake, offered to correct that mistake as soon as we knew and they won't take money for it.

    Instead, they'll refuse to take the money offered, issue a big fine and then charge for the prescriptions as well.

    My partner has been off work ill for six months, I haven't been able to work as much as I should as I've been looking after her. We literally can't afford this.

    It seems so wrong that they say there is no method to take payment, but they can take payment if they fine you, how does that work then?

    The only possible light at the end of the tunnel is that the guy I spoke to said we could appeal it and he would put a note on our account saying we rang up to try and pay it. Whether that would make a difference or not...who knows.

    Has anyone else had anything like this happen? Is there anything that can be done?

    Thank you in advance.
Page 2
    • BlueSkiesandClouds
    • By BlueSkiesandClouds 6th May 18, 3:33 PM
    • 41 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    BlueSkiesandClouds
    What on earth has happened to this forum.

    Maybe it's just this sub-forum, but I remember MSE being a friendly, helpful place.

    This thread has immediately derailed into debates over numbers of fines and a stunning lack of compassion for the situation - takman, in particular, thanks for those presumptions. Perhaps it didn't occur to you that maybe things aren't all that rosy for me either.

    However - all that is irrelevant to this discussion, I have tried to keep it depersonalised aside from relevant information.

    The question is - from a consumer rights perspective:
    If no offence has been recorded, or acted upon, and the customer tries to fix the mistake before it could escalate (or nothing comes of it), should the customer still be hit with the full force of the consequences?

    Or put it another way...
    If you are buying your weekly food shop, go home, check your receipt and find that you weren't charged for an item. If you go back to pay for it should you be instantly detained and charged with shoplifting?

    For a mistake you didn't realise, and tried to rectify?

    Maybe there isn't any consumer rights to discuss in that situation, but I hope there is.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 6th May 18, 4:41 PM
    • 3,680 Posts
    • 10,035 Thanks
    LilElvis
    What on earth has happened to this forum.

    Maybe it's just this sub-forum, but I remember MSE being a friendly, helpful place.

    This thread has immediately derailed into debates over numbers of fines and a stunning lack of compassion for the situation - takman, in particular, thanks for those presumptions. Perhaps it didn't occur to you that maybe things aren't all that rosy for me either.

    However - all that is irrelevant to this discussion, I have tried to keep it depersonalised aside from relevant information.

    The question is - from a consumer rights perspective:
    If no offence has been recorded, or acted upon, and the customer tries to fix the mistake before it could escalate (or nothing comes of it), should the customer still be hit with the full force of the consequences?

    Or put it another way...
    If you are buying your weekly food shop, go home, check your receipt and find that you weren't charged for an item. If you go back to pay for it should you be instantly detained and charged with shoplifting?

    For a mistake you didn't realise, and tried to rectify?

    Maybe there isn't any consumer rights to discuss in that situation, but I hope there is.
    Originally posted by BlueSkiesandClouds
    There are countless situations in real life which are more analogous to your situation than your "underpaying in the supermarket" scenario.

    - miscalculating your expenditure and going into unauthorised overdraft with your bank and incurring charges

    - driving down the road and not realising that the speed limit has changed until you see the flash from a speed trap

    - forgetting to pay your credit card bill on time and incurring interest charges

    None of these are deliberate actions, but once done they can't be undone simply because you put your hands up and admit to what you've done before the other party contacts you. You've still breached the "rules" and are therefore liable for whatever penalty is ascribed to that breach when the other party goes through it's procedures to issue their notification to you.

    Personally I can't see what the NHS has done wrong in this situation or why you are complaining when the fault lies with your wife for failing to look at the expiry date printed in large text on her card.
    • shaun from Africa
    • By shaun from Africa 6th May 18, 5:17 PM
    • 10,106 Posts
    • 11,359 Thanks
    shaun from Africa
    I contacted the NHS pre-payment centre and offered to pay for the prescriptions and they said:
    1. They have no method to take payment
    2. We'll have to wait up to a month to see if we will be fined
    3. The fine will be 100 + the cost of the prescriptions
    4. It's down to luck whether we'll be fined or not

    How on earth can this be allowed? We realised we made a mistake, offered to correct that mistake as soon as we knew and they won't take money for it.
    Originally posted by BlueSkiesandClouds

    It's probably not a case of "won't" take payment, simply that they can't take the payment.
    As you stated, you contacted the NHS pre-payment centre. If all that their system is set up for is to take payments for the NHS pre-payment cards, they probably don't have any way of tracing the prescriptions that weren't correctly paid for when they were collected.
    • bris
    • By bris 6th May 18, 5:24 PM
    • 7,729 Posts
    • 6,715 Thanks
    bris
    Bottom line, is ignorance is no defence. The prescriptions weren't paid for so if there is a fine then there is no one else to blame.


    There were nearly a million fines for this issued last year, why should you be any different. I have no sympathy for prescription theft. Yours may be a mistake but a million mistakes, I don't think so.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 6th May 18, 7:23 PM
    • 4,829 Posts
    • 3,617 Thanks
    sheramber
    You don't really believe that do you. According to this BBC report.



    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30622544

    That obviously covers the OP's circumstances plus fraud relating to the various exemptions
    Originally posted by Johno100
    I was replying to the figures you quoted on your post.

    You did not clarify your statement with the second set of figures.
    • takman
    • By takman 6th May 18, 8:19 PM
    • 3,479 Posts
    • 3,104 Thanks
    takman
    What on earth has happened to this forum.

    Maybe it's just this sub-forum, but I remember MSE being a friendly, helpful place.

    This thread has immediately derailed into debates over numbers of fines and a stunning lack of compassion for the situation - takman, in particular, thanks for those presumptions. Perhaps it didn't occur to you that maybe things aren't all that rosy for me either.
    Originally posted by BlueSkiesandClouds
    Compassion isn't going to help your situation or make it any less likely you will get fined.

    Telling you the reality of the situation is that if you had regularly checked the card, make a note on a calendar, set a reminder on phone or other similar device or had a noticeboard etc then you wouldn't have been in this situation. It's simply down to poor planning on your part and the more you have on your mind that will distract the more effort you should have put into making sure you had suitable reminders.

    If you do this now for your current card then it won't happen again which is much more useful than compassion.

    However - all that is irrelevant to this discussion, I have tried to keep it depersonalised aside from relevant information.

    The question is - from a consumer rights perspective:
    If no offence has been recorded, or acted upon, and the customer tries to fix the mistake before it could escalate (or nothing comes of it), should the customer still be hit with the full force of the consequences?

    Or put it another way...
    If you are buying your weekly food shop, go home, check your receipt and find that you weren't charged for an item. If you go back to pay for it should you be instantly detained and charged with shoplifting?

    For a mistake you didn't realise, and tried to rectify?

    Maybe there isn't any consumer rights to discuss in that situation, but I hope there is.
    Originally posted by BlueSkiesandClouds
    Just because they havn't recorded the offence doesn't mean you can get away with it. You have missed the deadline for paying and it's as simple as that, having clear rules with clear deadlines makes a fair system that can't be questioned.

    The speed trap example is a good comparison above. Imagine you went past a police officer in a layby and realised you were speeding but don't know if they had recorded it with a speedgun or not. You think you should be able to ring the police station and somehow get out of the fine by explaining it was a mistake and it hasn't been processed yet?.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 6th May 18, 9:59 PM
    • 298 Posts
    • 359 Thanks
    Les79
    The question is - from a consumer rights perspective:
    If no offence has been recorded, or acted upon, and the customer tries to fix the mistake before it could escalate (or nothing comes of it), should the customer still be hit with the full force of the consequences?
    Originally posted by BlueSkiesandClouds
    Well... yes they should!

    You claimed for a prescription using a method you weren't entitled to use due to lack of cover. That's the bottom line, leaving out all of the emotional baggage.

    Using an analogy... It is like me doing 75mph on a motorway whilst overtaking (Your prepaid card has expired for a specific reason, but it isn't a huge offense), spotting a "speed camera" sign (realising your card has expired after doing the business) and then slowing back down to 70mph (wanting to pay for the service). Then Phoning up the police station (contacting the prepayment line) to explain your case on the off chance that they caught you, only to be told that you've contacted the wrong people (and hopefully the police station/prepayment line don't pass your info over to the fine department)

    In my analogy, you would very likely end up with a speeding ticket if caught. You are in the wrong, but it isn't a huge deal and pot luck whether you get fined.




    Or put it another way...
    If you are buying your weekly food shop, go home, check your receipt and find that you weren't charged for an item. If you go back to pay for it should you be instantly detained and charged with shoplifting?

    For a mistake you didn't realise, and tried to rectify?
    No, that's a poor analogy. No company in the whole of the UK would treat you like a criminal if you went back in to offer to pay for an item you hadn't paid for by accident.

    Maybe there isn't any consumer rights to discuss in that situation, but I hope there is.
    There are consumer rights....

    But bear in mind that you hadn't paid for the prepayment card, so you didn't really have any consumer rights because you didn't have the card...

    You basically made a false claim (by the letter of the law) and the NHS will have Ts and Cs relating to what happens when you make false claims. I think you are losing your objectivity though; takman, for example, was a bit blunt but they hit the nail on the head and it is sadly the reality here. Nobody on the forum would call you a bad person, but you effectively just have to take some personal responsibility.

    Oh and maybe I'm a bit black and white, but if your partner's health gets in the way of daily life in this manner then ideally you (or maybe even a carer in some capacity) should be helping with everyday things like this.
    • John-K
    • By John-K 7th May 18, 8:43 AM
    • 654 Posts
    • 1,016 Thanks
    John-K

    The question is - from a consumer rights perspective:
    If no offence has been recorded, or acted upon, and the customer tries to fix the mistake before it could escalate (or nothing comes of it), should the customer still be hit with the full force of the consequences?.
    Originally posted by BlueSkiesandClouds
    Yes, they should.
    • stevenhp1987
    • By stevenhp1987 7th May 18, 10:32 AM
    • 667 Posts
    • 532 Thanks
    stevenhp1987
    Unfortunately you can't backdate a card, it only applies from the day it's purchased.
    Originally posted by BlueSkiesandClouds
    Wrong! You can back-date an NHS prepay prescription!

    https://apps.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppcwebsales/patient.do

    You can start your prepayment:
    today
    any date in the next month (ready for your next pharmacy visit)
    any date in the past month (if you have a refund form from the pharmacist)
    You can backdate by a month, so if the prescriptions were in the last month, go get the card and backdate it and they'll be covered!

    The application form simply asks for a start date, you can backdate it by a month.
    • George Michael
    • By George Michael 7th May 18, 11:01 AM
    • 3,115 Posts
    • 4,177 Thanks
    George Michael
    Wrong! You can back-date an NHS prepay prescription!

    https://apps.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppcwebsales/patient.do


    You can backdate by a month, so if the prescriptions were in the last month, go get the card and backdate it and they'll be covered!

    The application form simply asks for a start date, you can backdate it by a month.
    Originally posted by stevenhp1987
    You can backdate the start date on the form but this won't help the OP.
    What happens is that when you backdate the form, you can get a refund for any prescriptions that were paid for after the start date of the card providing that you obtain a refund form when you pay for those prescriptions.
    This is clearly stated on the link that you provided:


    "any date in the past month (if you have a refund form from the pharmacist)"

    As the OP didn't pay, backdating the form won't be of any use and it will in fact be worse for them because it means that they will be losing 1 months validity of the card.

    Backdating the start date doesn't provide any mitigation for obtaining a prescription without paying or without having a valid pre-payment in force at the time.
    • Eydon
    • By Eydon 8th May 18, 11:43 AM
    • 577 Posts
    • 321 Thanks
    Eydon
    Op - you must have a very trusting pharmacist where you are.

    I live in a small village. I collect my prescription from the village pharmacy every month. The pharmacist knows me and knows I have a pre-payment card and yet still insists on seeing the card (which has the expiry date printed on it) every time I collect.
    • Blackbeard of Perranporth
    • By Blackbeard of Perranporth 8th May 18, 12:41 PM
    • 5,175 Posts
    • 31,082 Thanks
    Blackbeard of Perranporth
    I am reminded on every visit to my chemist to pick up my heart pills as to whether it is cheaper to buy the prepayment certificate. Currently it is not! I have just another thirteen collections to go before it is free anyway!


    When I was on ESA, this was checked on their system. So I am afraid, you were caught out, and hopefully will be a lesson. Do as I do, make sure your pharmacist knows about your drugs you are prescribed and don't use the emporiums, they are not interested in you!
    Commemorate Celebrate Inspire
    #RAF100 A century of service!
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 8th May 18, 3:08 PM
    • 20,446 Posts
    • 16,233 Thanks
    agrinnall
    Op - you must have a very trusting pharmacist where you are.

    I live in a small village. I collect my prescription from the village pharmacy every month. The pharmacist knows me and knows I have a pre-payment card and yet still insists on seeing the card (which has the expiry date printed on it) every time I collect.
    Originally posted by Eydon
    Exactly this, I have to do the same on the occasions when I have a prepayment card. If the pharmacy staff in this case are not checking the card perhaps the OP could ask them to ensure that in future they do check before accepting the prescription.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

89Posts Today

1,666Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @bbcthehour: "Mental health and debt is a marriage made in hell" @MartinSLewis told the Senedd when people are more vulnerable they're m?

  • RT @justindeaville: @MartinSLewis I looked it up when we last went. It's ball speed. And it's about O.3 seconds to cross the court. @Martin?

  • Amazing how empty the #Wimbledon court is for the mixed doubles even though there's a Brit playing. The bars outside are rammed though

  • Follow Martin