Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fifteenth Report


APPENDIX 4

Memorandum by the Department of Health

National Health Service (Charges for Drugs and Appliances)
Amendment Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/746)

1. The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments have requested a memorandum on the following points relating to the National Health Service (Charges for Drugs and Appliances) Amendment Regulations 2001:

    1)  With regard to regulation 9 of the principal Regulations, as amended by regulation 7(3):

      (a)  Explain the phrase in paragraphs (9) and (12)—"the month in respect of which an application under paragraph (6) may be made"—given that paragraph (6) does not provide for an application to be made in respect of a month (or any other period);

      (b)  If the intention was to refer to the period beginning one month after the pre-payment certificate became valid and ending on its expiry, why do these paragraphs say so?

    2)  Explain how the amendments made by regulation 7 have the effect attributed to them in the second and third sentences of the third paragraph of the Explanatory Note.

2. With regard to question (1) the phrase 'the month in respect of which an application under paragraph (6) may be made' refers to the month in which an event listed in regulation 9(6) of the principal Regulations (the triggering event) must occur for an application for a full refund to be made. Regulation 9(6) provides that the triggering event must occur 'not more than one month after the date on which' the pre-payment certificate became valid. Thus applications under regulation 9(6) apply on the occurrence of any of the triggering events in the first month of the certificate's validity.

3. The Department accepts that the drafting could have been clearer and undertakes to make clarifying amendments when a suitable opportunity arises.

4. With regard to question (2), regulation 9(7) of the Principal Regulations as amended by regulation 7 provides for an application for a refund to be made where the certificate holder dies for the period for which the certificate is valid after the period which is covered by regulation 9(6). The Regulations have not been printed and the Department has arranged for the final print to be altered so that the second sentence of the third paragraph of the Explanatory Note reads "It extends the period (from one month to four months) in respect of which a refund may be claimed when the holder of a 12 month pre-payment certificate becomes entitled to exemption from or remission of prescription charges".

5. The third sentence of the third paragraph of the Explanatory Note refers to the new regulation 9(10)—(12) of the principal Regulations. New regulation 9(10) read with new regulation 9(12) provides for an application for a refund to be made in respect of a 12 month pre-payment certificate on the occurrence of any of the events set out in new regulation 9(1) if they occur after the first month of the certificate's validity and before the end of the fourth month. As regulation 9(6) of the principal Regulations provides for a refund where the triggering event occurs during the first month of the certificate's validity, the provisions extend this period (for those events specified in regulation 9(10)) to the following three months.

11 April 2001


 
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