Diabetic hits out at NHS prescription fine

Mark Fowler with his diabetic medicine.
Mark Fowler with his diabetic medicine.

A diabetic is calling on others to fight a £132 fine being served up by the NHS over repeat prescriptions.

Mark Fowler of Bentinck Terrace Warsop, has regularly picked up free insulin for his type-one diabetes for more than 30 years.

But he was stunned when he was told that despite ticking the medical exemption box on his latest prescription, the NHS said they had no record of him because they say he had failed to renew his exemption certificate.

The 42-year-old, who was diagnosed with type-one diabetes at the age of 12 in 1984, insists he was never told about the renewal, something he has never had to do before.

He says that even his diabetes specialist nurse was not even aware that he needed to renew.

Mr Fowler says he was greeted with ‘nothing but sarcasm and stubbornness’ and ‘a lack of understanding and care’ when he rang up the NHS Businesses Service Authority to explain.

However, the fine was eventually rescinded, but he says many others have been sent the levy.

“I’ve spoken to Diabetes UK and they say thousands of people have been sent this, and quite a few people have paid it just to get on,” said Mark.

“It’s a surefire way for the NHS to make money.

“It is not my fault that the local authority has not contacted me in that time to inform me that I needed to re-apply, a fact I find incredible considering my diabetes won’t just go away!

“I received no communication whatsoever, I’ve seen no posters or information in either GP surgeries, pharmacists or hospital clinics.

“This is nothing but a tax on people who have a life-long illness.”

The NHS Business Services Authority (BAS) apologised for Mr Fowler’s experience, and spokesman for the BSA, Carrie Cosgrove, said: “To minimise the risk of patients incurring charges, we sent a supply of information booklets and posters to all GP practices and pharmacies when we took responsibility for checking prescriptions in September 2014.

“We’re also continuing to work with medical professionals to increase awareness and understanding of the certificate application process.”