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In England patients pay for their NHS prescriptions and NHS dental treatment. This is an important source of funding for the NHS.

Each year, the NHS loses significant funds due to people claiming free prescriptions or dental treatment they were not entitled to. This directly reduces the money available for core patient care.

Exemption Checking Services (ECS) carry out checks on patient claims. If they cannot confirm that a patient was entitled to claim free NHS prescriptions or NHS dental treatment, they'll be sent an enquiry letter asking them to confirm their entitlement. If they do not respond within 28 days, they'll be sent a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

If you’ve received a PCN, you must contact the department who issued the PCN:

If you live in England

For prescriptions contact Prescription Exemption Checking Services (PECS).

For dental treatment contact Dental Exemption Checking Services (DECS).

For optical treatment contact the Counter Fraud section of your local Integrated Care Board (ICB).

If you live in Scotland

For dental and optical treatment contact NHS Scotland Counter Fraud Services.

If you live in Wales

For optical treatment contact the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership.

If you live in Northern Ireland

For optical treatment contact Central Services Agency Belfast.

Check what help you could get to pay for NHS costs and apply online.