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Challenge a Penalty Charge Notice

There are two reasons you can challenge a NHS Penalty Charge Notice:

If you think there has been a mistake

You can challenge a Penalty Charge Notice if you know you were entitled to claim free NHS prescriptions or free or reduced NHS dental treatment between the dates on your letter.

Check who gets free NHS prescriptions or free or reduced NHS dental treatment.

Providing proof

Once you have contacted us, we will ask you to provide some proof. This might be:

  • a reference number (such as a medical exemption certificate number)
  • a copy of document (such as a benefit award letter)   

A successful challenge

If you can show us that there's been a mistake, the Penalty Charge Notice will be cancelled.

If you think you have an exceptional reason not to pay

To make a challenge you will need to explain your exceptional reason to us, and show that you did not act wrongfully or with any lack of care.

We will not accept your challenge if you:

  • thought your NHS exemption certificate was still valid, but it had expired
  • feel you were misadvised by staff at your GP surgery, dental practice or pharmacy
  • thought your contributions-based benefit entitled you to claim
  • thought your prescription prepayment certificate would automatically renew

A successful challenge

If we agree that you have an exceptional reason not to pay, the penalty charge will be eased or removed. You will still need to pay the original prescription or dental charge.

What to do next

To make a challenge you need to contact us:

Challenge a prescriptions Penalty Charge Notice

You will need your reference number. This can be found on your Penalty Charge Notice letter. When you contact us you need to explain your reason for the challenge.

  • Online
    Our online contact form is the easiest way to contact us. In the subject box, select ‘Prescription Exemption Checking Service’. We reply within 1-2 days.
     
  • Email
    Contact us at: nhsbsa.pecs@nhsbsa.nhs.uk
    We reply within 1-2 days.
     
  • Phone
    Call us on: 0300 330 9291
    Available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and Saturday from 9am to 3pm, UK time.

    If you're deaf or hard of hearing and you have a textphone (sometimes called a minicom), you can contact us using the Text Relay Service. Dial 18001 and then 0300 330 9291. 
     
  • Post
    Write to us at: Prescriptions Penalty Charges Team, NHSBSA, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6SN

We offer a telephone translation service and provide documents in large print and braille on request.

If you’re not entitled to challenge - don't delay

If you are told that you are not able to challenge you must pay the Penalty Charge Notice.

It is important to start paying as soon as possible. If you don't make a payment by the deadline stated on your letter, a surcharge of £50 will be added to the fine.

Challenge a dental treatment Penalty Charge Notice

You will need your reference number. This can be found on your Penalty Charge Notice letter. When you contact us you need to explain your reason for the challenge.

  • Online
    Our online contact form is the easiest way to contact us. In the subject box, select ‘Dental Exemption Checking Service’. We reply within 1-2 days.
     
  • Email
    Contact us at: nhsbsa.decs@nhsbsa.nhs.uk
    We reply within 1-2 days.
     
  • Phone
    Call us on: 0300 330 1293
    If your reference number starts with 'BECS/DR' call 0300 330 1368
    Available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and Saturday from 9am to 3pm, UK time.

    If you're deaf or hard of hearing and you have a textphone (sometimes called a minicom), you can contact us using the Text Relay Service. Dial 18001 and then 0300 330 1293
     
  • Post
    Write to us at: Dental Penalty Charges Team, NHSBSA, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6SN

We offer a telephone translation service and provide documents in large print and braille on request.

If you’re not entitled to challenge - don't delay

If you are told that you are not able to challenge you must pay the Penalty Charge Notice.

It is important to start paying as soon as possible. If you don't make a payment by the deadline stated on your letter, a surcharge of £50 will be added to the fine.