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Real Time Exemption Checking

Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC) lets your pharmacy team see if you need to pay for your prescriptions. They will do this when you pick up a prescription, or when it’s sent out to you.

This means you can:

  • be sure you’re exempt from paying for your prescription
  • save money if you did not know you were entitled to free prescriptions
  • spend less time at the counter checking to see if you’re exempt from paying, and signing the declaration  

The service aims to help reduce fraud in the NHS by making sure prescriptions are claimed correctly. We’re trialling it with a small number of pharmacies.

Exemptions included

Currently, the following exemptions are included:

  • maternity exemption certificates
  • medical exemption certificates
  • prescription prepayment certificates
  • HC2 and HC3 certificates
  • tax credit certificates

The pharmacy team will tell you if you need to pay, but will not be able to tell you why you’re exempt.

You may still be asked to provide proof that you do not need to pay for your prescriptions. You can check if you are entitled to free prescriptions.

If your exemption cannot be found, you’ll need to complete and sign the prescription form as normal. You can check if your exemption certificate is still valid.

Keeping your details up to date

To check if you need to pay, your pharmacy team will use your:

  • NHS number
  • surname
  • date of birth
  • postcode 

These details will be checked automatically against details held for your exemption.

Make sure your details are correct on your exemption, and match the details held at your GP and pharmacy.

How to check your details are correct on your exemption

For medical and maternity exemption certificates, and prescription prepayment certificates

  • Call us on 0300 330 1341

For NHS tax credit exemption certificates

  • Call us on 0300 330 1347

For HC2 and HC3 certificates

  • Call us on 0300 330 1343

Lines are available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and Saturday from 9am to 3pm (your call will be charged at a local rate).