We have had a poster and some leaflets delivered by the NHS warning patients about the consequences of claiming exemption from NHS charges incorrectly.
Apparently, over half a million, not insubstantial, penalty notices were issued last year.
We have had a couple of patients affected by this in our practice.
One patient was entitled to free treatment due to his disability benefit, but, he had just turned 65 and had changed to a pension credit. It didn't matter that he was still exempt, he got fined because he had ticked the box, as he had done for many years, but, his actual entitlement reason had just changed !
I have stressed to my staff the importance of making sure that what ever the patient puts on the blue form, MUST be transferred to R4.
However, I think it is extremely dangerous for R4 to retain the previous exemption information. This is an accident waiting to happen.
For safety reasons, R4 should NOT retain exemption status effectively forcing this information to be updated at the start of each and every course of treatment.
At present, it is just too easy for a busy reception to accidently forget to update the exemption in R4 when it changes.
Please help us by changing this ASAP.