An introduction to the Real Time Exemption Checking Service API.


NHS Prescription Fraud is currently costing over £200 million a year. Patients are not clear what exemptions they are entitled to and how to obtain the required proof. The current paper system is open to error and checks are only carried out by the BSA once medication has been dispensed.

NHS Digital has been asked to provide an effective solution to ensure that exemptions from prescription charges are applied correctly prior to medication being dispensed. The solution will enable Dispensers to check a Patients’ active prescription status, resulting in exemptions being applied correctly prior to medication being dispensed, thereby reducing prescription fraud in England which currently stands at £237 million a year.


Benefits of the Real Time Exemption Checking Service:

  • The NHS as a whole benefits from the reduced cost of prescription fraud due to a decrease in false prescription claims
  • Remove the burden and time taken to manage numerous exemption certificates within the care environment
  • Patients will benefit from fewer Penalty Charge Notices caused by accidental/erroneous exemption claims.
  • Patients will benefit by not paying for prescriptions when they didn’t realise they were exempt
  • Patients may no longer need to provide physical proof of exemption saving patient time whilst also reducing administrative and postage costs for the NHS BSA
  • Pharmacies will benefit from more efficient exemption status checks due to digitising the process
  • Less confrontation between Patients and Dispensers thereby reducing stress to the dispensing staff