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Prescription Fine!

vanreet asked:

Good evening GOODF members 😉

My friend received a letter from PECS – on behalf of the DHS prescription dept, they informed him that 2 prescriptions had been processed but he was not actually entitled to free prescriptions. He says he was sure he was told his stop smoking coarse of precriptions were free; however we now know differently!

He was informed he would have to pay the cost of 2 scips + a fine ; total was £98.80

He made a payment of £16.80 online for the 2 scrips and sent a letter stating:

It was a genuine mistake and he was not trying to defraud anyone, he also did not agree with the charges PECS were levying so he had made an online payment to cover the origonal cost of the 2 scrips.

Today he received the following letter:

Dear xx xxxxxx

Acknowledgement of correspondence
Thank you for your recent correspondence and for contacting the Prescription Exemption Checking Service helpline regarding your outstanding charges.
We have considered the information you supplied but we are still unable to waive the rest of the charges, as you did not hold a valid exemption at the time your prescription was dispensed.
It is the responsibility of individual patients to check whether they are entitled, including the date exemption certificates expire, as all patient literature makes clear. The prescription form, FP10, refers patients to leaflets HC11 and HC12 which are freely available from Jobcentre Plus offices, NHS hospitals, and some pharmacies, opticians and doctors’ surgeries. The FP10 form also mentions the telephone advice line for information about free prescriptions and repeatedly states that penalty charges may be applied if a patient wrongly claims for free prescriptions.
You must therefore pay the amount of £82.00.
To make a payment by debit or credit card, please visit or call our contact centre on 0300 330 9291. Alternatively, you can return this letter to the address above with a cheque or Postal Order made payable to ‘NHS Business Services Authority’. Please write your postcode and reference number on the back of your cheque or Postal Order.
For more information visit or search for ‘Help with Health Costs’ on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact us via our website or telephone, 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. We offer a telephone translation service if English is not your first language and we can provide documents in large print or Braille on request.
Yours sincerely

We would appreciate any advice on what else he can do to resolve this, he simply does not have the £82.00 they are demanding.


mrflibble replied:

I can’t imagine they would have much success chasing him for a “fine”. There also attempting to profit without evidence of loss or intent, so i’d just pay for the drugs and ignore.

Have a search on google to check if the “courts” support this type of extortion.

pitano1 replied:

they are addressing…..YOU.
QUESTION IS,ARE….you going to pay… 😆

vanreet replied:

Thanks mrfibble 😉

I found the following:

Section 8 – Enforcement and recovery of penalty charges


8.1 Patients will be asked to make full payment of the penalty charge and the outstanding NHS charge within the 28 days specified in the notice.


8.2 If the penalty charge has not been paid within 28 days from the date of posting the penalty notice, a surcharge will be payable by the patient.

8.3 The amount of the surcharge will be 50% of the penalty charge, up to a maximum of £50.

Payment of charges by instalment

8.4 Where the patient asserts within the 28 days that they are unable to meet the 28-day time limit because of their financial circumstances, the responsible authority may agree with the patient, to accept payment by instalments.

8.5 Patients will be informed that although the surcharge becomes due after 28 days, payment of that surcharge will not be pursued provided that the instalment arrangements are strictly complied with. (The surcharge will be included in the total payable by those patients who enter into such an agreement after 28 days.)

8.6 The responsible authority should seek to recover all outstanding payments within a reasonable time.

8.7 The terms of an instalment agreement will be set out in writing between the responsible authority and the patient. Patients will be told of the consequences of their failure to comply with the instalment agreement.

8.8 Instalment payments will be offset against the components of the debt in the following order:

charge payable

penalty charge

the surcharge

any additional costs payable – e.g. standard court fees where civil recovery action has been taken.



Recovery proceedings

8.9 If a patient does not respond to a request for payment, further enforcement action will normally follow.

8.10 Part payment of a debt will be seen as an inadequate response, (exceptions being an instalment agreement).

8.11 A ‘Final Letter before Action’ will be issued to the patient prior to court proceedings being commenced.

An illustration is included at Annex C

Debt recovery through the courts

8.12 Any outstanding debt may be pursued through the civil courts within 6 years of the date the debt was discovered, or within 6 years of the date a debtor acknowledges in writing his indebtedness or makes a part payment in respect of the debt.

8.13 The Act also allows that the debt may be recovered summarily as a civil debt.

This means that the debt can be recovered through the magistrates’ court within 6 months of the date the charge was incurred, rather than when it is discovered.

vanreet replied:

and this:

Annex C: Illustrative ‘final letter before action’



Our records indicate that you have failed to pay the amount required under the penalty notice issued in accordance with The National Health Service (Penalty Charge) Regulations 1999.

As advised in our previous letter, you are now liable for payment of the surcharge of xxxx in addition to the amount shown on the penalty notice.

It is now our intention to instigate recovery proceedings through the county court.

In the event of a court judgement being entered against you, additional fees and solicitors costs may be added to your debt and your name will be recorded in the Register of County Court Judgements. It is important that you realise the implications of having a judgement recorded against you as it may affect your ability to obtain credit.

In order to avoid legal action, payment in full must be received within the next 7 days. Details of how to pay are shown on the reverse of this notice. Please accept our apologies if you have already replied or paid in full

mrflibble replied:

“Fines” are not debt, there’s no loss on their part and no consideration on yours. Doubtful a private company could win if they took you to court, one would hope the same is true for the NHS. I realise they are part of the mafia, but the amount is so small i can’t see it happening.

vanreet replied:

My friend unfortunateley is not confident to use the “no name” approach despite my attempt to open his eyes and atleast show him an alternative way 🙄

However he is thinking of sending any further correspondance from them back with addressee no longer at this address …..

I have read all the post on GOODF regarding this prescription fine issue but unfortunately there are no results or outcomes on here ……. anyway; time will tell

Thanks again for all the advice


MikeThomas replied:


vanreet replied:

spoke to my friend at length today andhe wants to set up a £5 a month payment plan 😡

if any GOODF member has any further advice we would certainly be very grateful, because he plans to request the payment plan when he receives the next letter from them ………………… 😉

jaysinc111 replied:


Appreciate this thread is somewhat old now but I recently received a similar letter demanding prescription charges and a £100 fine for claiming an exemption. I used to pay for prescriptions annually by credit card but this lapsed and now I am faced with this. I rang the office concerned and had a heated conversation with their rep. She advised I complete a form HC1 and duly sent one out putting a delay on further action for 28 days. On looking at the form it requires an incredible amount of information that I don think is necessary or feel comfortable giving out. I am minded to pay the prescription charges of £25 and go down the DCA route which is where I think this will eventually go if I do not pay the fine (I cannot afford to in any case!).
Any thoughts or results of previous cases would be most helpful.

Jinxer replied:

The foi request earlier this year states that up to that date no one has been took to court yet for not paying.

jaysinc111 replied:


This is most useful.