I am writing regarding your request for information, which I received on 27 September 2022. In that request, you asked us for the following:
'A refund of NHS prescription charges without the FP57 refund receipt will only be approved in exceptional circumstances. How many 'exceptional circumstance' requests have you granted, and the total number applied for'
Total Number Granted
The data we hold relating to this question is from 03/01/2017 to 21/11/2022. In this period of time, we authorised 1,279 NHS Prescription charge refunds without the FP57 receipt.
Number of Exceptional Circumstances applied for
We hold information for all NHS Prescription charge refund requests from April 2021 to September 2022. In that time period there were 5,390 applications. With 99 being approved. This application information is not stored in a way that readily provides the information you have requested. Therefore, we would need to manually access each of these records to answer the question. We estimate that each case will take 5 minutes on average to assess if it was for a refund without the FP57 receipt and if exceptional circumstances applied. In total this would take 5,390 x 5 minutes = 449 hours.
Therefore, I estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the non-central Government limit of £450. The limit has been specified in The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 and represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours in determining whether the NHSBSA holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act, the NHSBSA is not obliged to comply with your request as it stands.
If you were to make a new request for a narrower category of information such as for one month’s refund applications, approximately 300 on average, we may be able to comply with that request within the appropriate limit, although I cannot guarantee that this will be the case.