NHS Business Services Authority
The NHS Business Services Authority is a special health authority of the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales. It was created on 1 October 2005 following a review by the Department of Health of its "arm's length bodies". It began operating on 1 April 2006, bringing together five previously separate NHS business support organisations. It is currently under commercial review by the coalition government to determine the future of the body. This review is due to be published in December 2010.
Since April 2009, the NHSBSA is managed based on its services, which are:
- Help With Health Costs
- NHS Protect
- Security Management
- Dental Services
- NHS Injury Benefit Scheme
- NHS Pensions
- Prescription Services
- Student Bursary
- Social Work Bursary
- NHS Supply Chain
- European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on behalf of the Department of Health
- Maternity Exemption Certificates
- Medical Exemption Certificates
Help with Health Costs
Help with Health Costs is a service provided by the NHSBSA which issues exemption certificates to those entitled, and sells Prescription Pre-payment Certificates (PPCs). The service is intended to assist those on low incomes who may be able to pay for their essential NHS charges.
The services offered by Help with Health Costs includes:
- The NHS Low Income Scheme, which assesses a family's income and outgoings to see if they can afford to pay NHS charges. Outcomes include HC2 certificates (for full help) and HC3 certificates (for partial help). Applications can be made using form HC1, which can be ordered from http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/HealthCosts/1128.aspx . General enquiries about the scheme can be directed to 0845 850 1166.
- Prescription Pre-payment Certificates (or PPCs), which aim to lower the expense of NHS Prescription charges by charging a pre-paid set fee as opposed to paying for each prescription item individually. PPCs can be ordered on 0845 850 0030, or online at http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppc.
- Tax Credit Exemption Certificates, which are provided on behalf of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to those in receipt of Tax Credits within certain thresholds. Enquiries regarding the Tax Credit Exemption Certificates can be directed to 0845 609 9299.
- Medical Exemption Certificates, which are provided to people with a medical condition that exempts them from paying prescription charges. Medical Exemption enquiries can be directed to 0845 601 8076.
- Maternity Exemption Certificates, which are provided to people who are pregnant (or who have had a baby in the last 12 months) to enable them to have free prescriptions and NHS Dental treatment. Maternity Exemption enquiries can be directed to 0845 601 8076.
European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs)
Those travelling within Europe (and Switzerland) are advised by the Government to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before they travel. The card entitles the holder to reduced charge (or sometimes free) health services whilst abroad.
Despite claims in the press, each EHIC has an individual expiry date, and the holder will not be covered if their card has expired at the time of travel.
Applications, renewals, replacements and general enquiries can be directed to 0845 605 0707. All applicants over the age of 16 are required to provide either an NHS number or National Insurance number when requested. Failure to provide this when requested will result in an application being discontinued.
Applications and renewals can also be made via the website at http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ehic
The EHIC service is free of charge.
Counter Fraud Service
The primary aim of the NHS Counter Fraud Service (NHSCFS) is to reduce fraud within the NHS. By keeping low levels of fraud maintained, this means that the right funds are available for better patient care and services.
Counter fraud work ranges from issuing penalty notices as a result of patients falsely claiming prescription charges to the multi-million-pound claims against drug companies for alleged price-fixing.
Using a 'problem-strategy-structure-action' approach, the NHS Counter Fraud Service has achieved 551 successful prosecutions and recovered almost £60,000,000 since 1998.