As announced last year, prescription charges will be waived for cancer patients from 1st April 2009.
The new exemption category will be added to the existing Medical Exemption Certificate application form (FP92a). New forms will be distributed in February and all old style forms should be destroyed. The new exemption covers people undergoing treatment for cancer, including the effects of cancer or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment.
New forms can be submitted from the 9th February. Those submitted before 24th March will have certificates processed in time for the new exemption start date. Forms received after the 24th March will be processed in normal time frames.
The BBC has published an article today in which the Public Health Minister has encouraged patients to make an appointment with their doctor in order to obtain a certificate. This recommendation is perhaps a little premature and an appointment with a doctor may be unnecessary in order to obtain the certificate.
Action: Clinicians should be aware of this new medical exemption category. Systems should be put into place to manage demand and process new applications.
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