More than 700 people in Wigan fined for not paying prescription charges
Fines totalling more than £70,000 have been issued to patients in Wigan who did not pay for their prescriptions.
While some people are exempt from the charge and certain items are free, others should pay for prescribed products, which currently cost £9.35 per item.
But research by online pharmacy From Mars has revealed that fixed penalty notices (PCNs) worth millions of pounds have been given to people across the country who avoided paying the fee last year.
In Wigan, 769 PCNs were issued in 2020, which was the 17th highest for all local authorities in England. That was a rate of 23.25 fines per 10,000 people in the borough.
These fines were for different amounts, but they totalled £70,993 - an average of £92.31 per PCN.
The local authority issuing the most PCNs was Birmingham with 2,810 during the year, which was many more than second-placed Manchester’s 1,757 fines.
These figures have not been adjusted for population, so larger local authorities tend to top the list.
The two cities were also top of the table when the value of the PCNs was considered, with Birmingham’s totalling £252,257 and Manchester’s £159,161.
But when researchers looked at the number of fines per head, the highest was Blackburn with Darwen with 35.59 per 10,000 people.
On average, the cost of a prescription on the NHS has risen by 2.54 per cent each year since 2012, with the largest increase of 3.89 per cent bringing prices up to their current level.
Since 2012, the cost of a prescription has risen by £1.70, from £7.65 to £9.35, which equates to a rise of 22.22 per cent over the last eight years.
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