Diabetes charity welcomes move to clarify free prescription process

Diabetes UK welcomes pledge by health minister Dan Poulter to change the system for checking free prescriptions after thousands of patients were fined for claiming them

The government has promised to change a system that resulted in thousands of people with diabetes being fined £100 for claiming free prescriptions.

Health minister Dan Poulter has confirmed that the process for checking free prescriptions will be changed to ensure fines are cancelled if people submit a valid application for a medical exemption certificate within 60 days of being contacted.

The move has been welcomed by Diabetes UK, which has been campaigning for a fairer system. The charity's chief executive Barbara Young said: 'It is good news that a decision has been made to change the system to prevent people with diabetes being penalised for not having a medical exemption certificate when, in most cases, they have not been told they need one. This is medication that is critical to their health and so we are pleased that the government now recognises the need to change the way it is being handled.'

It is not yet clear, however, if fines already issued to people with diabetes will be cancelled and reimbursed.

In England, people aged between 16 and 60 who use insulin or medicine to manage their diabetes are entitled to claim free prescriptions but must apply for a valid medical exemption certificate.

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