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Citizen Services

We support members of the public to gain access to healthcare and help with health costs as well as other helper services to which they are entitled. We supported over 3.9 million applications in 2021 from people who need help with health costs. These are delivered as a range of national services on behalf of the DHSC grouped in three categories:

Exemption Services

Maternity exemption certificate: Pregnant women and women who have had a baby in the last 12 months can apply for this certificate to get free NHS prescriptions. It can also be used to prove entitlement to free NHS dental treatment. Midwives and other healthcare professionals issue certificates for patients through our digital application. Find out more: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/

Medical exemption certificate: This enables patients with certain medical conditions to access free NHS prescriptions. Patients apply through a healthcare professional who countersigns the application form to confirm the diagnosis. We issue patients a certificate to show when collecting their NHS prescriptions. Find out more: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/

NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates: People are entitled to full help with health costs if their annual family income used to calculate their Tax Credits is £15,276 or less and they receive Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit paid together or Working Tax Credit including a disability or severe disability element. If they meet these conditions, HMRC inform us and we send an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate. Find out more: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/taxcredits

NHS Low Income Scheme: For people on a low income, the scheme provides help towards the cost of NHS prescriptions, NHS dental treatment, optical charges, NHS wigs and fabric supports and necessary travel to receive NHS treatment. To those entitled, we issue a HC2 certificate for full help with health costs, or an HC3 for limited help with health costs. Find out more: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-low-income-scheme

Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC): The PPC enables people who regularly need NHS prescriptions but are not exempt by any other route to reduce their NHS prescription costs by choosing either a 3 or 12-month certificate. PPCs enable customers to save money if they pay for more than three prescription items in three months or more than 11 items in 12 months. Find out more: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/

Health and Community Services

NHS Healthy Start: The scheme provides eligible people with help to buy basic foods such as cows’ milk, infant formula, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, canned food, pulses and get free vitamin supplements. The scheme provides financial support to improve the diets of low-income pregnant women and families with children under the age of 4 years to give them the best start in life. Beneficiaries of the scheme can get at least £4.25 per week.  Those who are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old are eligible to join the scheme if they are also receiving certain benefits. Anyone who is under 18 and pregnant is also eligible, even if they don’t get any benefits. 

Applications can be made on the NHS Healthy Start website: www.healthystart.nhs.uk  

All successful applicants will receive a Healthy Start pre-paid card to use to purchase the eligible healthy food items.  

For more information and enquiries, please contact Health and Community Services at: nhsbsa.hcsomt@nhs.net   

Overseas Healthcare Services

Overseas Healthcare Services: On behalf of the DHSC we issue and register entitlement documents for visitors, movers and those requiring planned medical treatment in the UK, the EEA and Switzerland. We process 2.5 million registrations annually. The services provide reassurance about healthcare for travellers and facilitate the process of receiving necessary treatments abroad for UK and overseas patients from participating states. The services include the UK Global Health Insurance Card (see below).

UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC): Issued free of charge, a UK GHIC enables holders to access medically necessary state-provided healthcare when visiting an EU country or Switzerland. This includes emergency treatment and visits to A&E, treatment for a long-term or pre-existing medical condition and routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring. To apply for a UK GHIC and to find out more please visit: www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/