Patients are being asked to “Check Before You Tick” as part of a new NHS campaign being supported by NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WNCCG).
A special eligibility checker has been launched providing a handy online tool to help people work out if they qualify for free prescriptions or not.
Many patients assume they are entitled to free prescriptions but getting it wrong could result in a penalty charge of up to £100.
Dr Paul Williams, Chair of WNCCG, said: “A lot of people incorrectly assume they qualify for free prescriptions and this can lead to avoidable fines. It also impacts on the busy workload of the NHS.
“Answering a few simple questions will help you understand if you can tick the box for a free prescription, and what proof you need to show your pharmacists when you are collecting your prescription, or when it is being delivered to you.
”The Check Before You Tick campaign has been launched by NHS England and NHS Business Services Authority and aims to help patients better understand who is eligible for free prescriptions, and if eligible, how to claim correctly and avoid unnecessary penalty charges.
The NHS loses an estimated £256 million a year because people claim free prescriptions when they should have paid.
Over the next few months, the NHS will be improving the prescription checking service to reduce this loss, including significantly increasing the number of prescriptions checked each month.
The eligibility checker can be found at www.nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick
Financial help may be available for those who are not entitled to free prescriptions such as the NHS Low Income Scheme and NHS Prepayment Certificates. To find out more visit www.nhs.uk/healthcosts