As reported by the BBC, MPs have criticised the government regarding over a million wrongly-issued primary care fines
MPs have demanded action over thousands upon thousands of wrongly-issued NHS fines in a new report.
The report damns the government’s ‘shockingly complacent’ response to the 1.7 million fines that have been wrongly issues to patients after doctor or dentist visits.
The fines were meant for patients incorrectly claiming free treatment, but a third of them were sent to people who are rightfully allowed to claim.
The Department of Health has promised extra checks before fines are issued.
The MPs behind the report said the system of healthcare fines needed a fundamental overhaul.
Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said the penalty fine system was “not fit for purpose”.
She called on the Department of Health to change an “utterly confusing” fining regime, which, at the moment, operates on a “presumption of guilt”.
She said the NHS fining system had become a “dog’s breakfast”.
Since 2014, fines with a value of £676m have been issued to people accused of claiming free dental treatment or avoiding paying prescription charges when they are allowed to claim them.
MPs described the system as ‘chaotic’ and ‘too complicated’ – so much so that a one-page form which patients are required to complete needs a 24-page handbook to explain what it means.
The committee raised concerns that people who were unfairly fined might have paid out of embarrassment or fear.
Hillier has warned that any extra checks the Department of Health implements must not just be a “sticking plaster” that could add another layer of bureaucracy.