Plastic cards as proof of exemption from NHS charges will soon be phased out and replaced with paper certificates as part of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) service improvement programme. Replacing the plastic cards will also generate savings for the NHS and reduce the impact on the environment.
Cards are currently used for prescription prepayment certificates, maternity exemption certificates, medical exemption certificates and Tax Credit Exemption certificates.
The first exemption cards to be changed from plastic to paper will be Tax Credit Exemption Certificates. From March 2018 these will be replaced by a double sided A4 paper certificate. The information on the paper certificate will be very similar to that on the plastic cards.
The cards will begin to be replaced by paper certificates from March 2018 as an interim measure, with a view to using digital certificates in the future. Digital certificates are currently being developed for prescription prepayment certificates and maternity exemption certificates.
Over the next few months paper certificates will begin to replace cards for maternity exemption, medical exemption and prescription prepayment certificates.
It will take up to five years for the plastic cards to be fully phased out so in the meantime both forms of exemption will continue to be accepted as long as they are within their expiry date.
Further updates on digital certificates will follow when they become available.