Patient Exemptions

The Family Practitioner Services (FPS) provide Medical, Optical, Pharmacy and Dental services in Northern Ireland. There is a charge for receiving Dental and Ophthalmic treatments - unless the patient qualifies for exemption from these charges.

Are you entitled to help with Health Service charges?

For dental and ophthalmic services there are a number of categories that reduce or remove the patient contribution element of the total cost. These 'exemption' categories are specific to the service area and are listed under the headings below.

The Fixed Penalty Charges Scheme

Every year in Northern Ireland people help themselves to millions of pounds of Health Service money by wrongfully claiming exemption from charges for dental treatment, sight tests and glasses.

This is fraud - and the consequence is less funds for patient care.

The Fixed Penalty Charges Scheme will tackle this issue - and help put Health Service money back where it belongs.

Most people are honest. They are correctly entitled to help and claim properly. If you are entitled to help, you should continue to claim. You won't have to pay penalty charges.

How is the Penalty Charge calculated ?

The fine will be 5 times the charge that should have been paid, up to a maximum of £100, and it must be paid within 28 days. Non-payment will lead to an additional surcharge of 50% of the original Penalty Charge. These penalty charges are payable in addition to the original charge. Repeat or persistent offenders may also face a criminal charge, with a maximum fine of £2,500.

If you have any questions on entitlement or penalty charges, you can call our free information line on 0800 587 8982.