Fury as tens of thousands of families still can’t access Healthy Start Vouchers – what you need to do NOW


Fury has spread among families who are still unable to access the Healthy Start voucher.

healthy start plan This means struggling families can get up to £442 in free meal vouchers to help them.


The new prepaid card under the Healthy Start scheme has angered many familiescredit: getty

In January this year, a major change in the plan was introduced with prepaid cards, replacing the old paper coupons used earlier.

Around 550,000 mothers who are pregnant or have babies three or less are in principle eligible for the scheme, which costs between £4.25 and £8.50 per week.

Although the system was thrown into chaos In transition with parents who were using the old plan, they found they were rejected for the new plan.

Some believe they are owed months, which has angered them.

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Many frustrated parents have vented their anger over this NHS Healthy Start Facebook page,

One mom, waiting for her card to arrive in the post, wrote: “20 weeks and still nothing ….10 days pffffftttttt really? Joke of a service!”

Another said: “Disgusting how people are being treated!!!! Emails, phone calls, private messages This needs to be sorted out by the NHS Healthy Start It’s wrong to create so much anxiety in so many families! !!!”

A third said: “I have called and called and emailed and there is no response.

“My card hasn’t arrived. It’s been 2 months now, we don’t have vouchers that make a difference at our food store. I am now in dues with the bill providers.

“I appreciate a quick response and solution and vouchers that are missing to reissue.

“It’s not weird, it’s causing stress and anxiety as well as getting us into trouble. I’m skipping my meals to make sure my daughter eats well.

“I have already made a formal complaint, to which I have not received any reply.

“I am deeply saddened by your lack of responsibility and care on this issue.”

The system appears to have encountered a number of problems with parents who were able to find out on the system that they could not activate their new card – or it was rejected until .

Some callers on the customer helpline kept waiting for three hours.

Even those who received their card found that they could not use it to buy food online and in some stores it could not be used as a partial payment, meaning they had to Your Healthy Start Items will have to be sorted by then.

Charity and Public Health officials wrote a letter to the Health Secretary Sajid Javido The march highlighted the problems and warned that they were reluctant to promote the scheme locally “for fear of turning away eligible residents by a faulty system”.

NHS The Business Services Authority has acknowledged that there are “some problems” with the transition to a digital service.

Since March, the capacity of the helpline has been increased and some IT issues have been fixed.

It has also promised to refund payments to eligible mothers who turned down cards for those who can prove that they attempted to make a claim.

Sophia Parente, a campaigner with the charity Sustain, has called for an overhaul of the digital switchover.

She said in March: “Eligible families are being rejected, cards are failing on till and calls to the helpline go unanswered.

“The government needs to extend paper vouchers till the digital scheme works, otherwise families exposed to rise in food prices will be left out.”

Whereas Zoe McIntyre of the food foundation Children’s Right2Food said: “It’s really heartbreaking to hear how many families have been helped by the digital switchover, rather than being helped by it.

“In this challenging time of rising food prices, rising cost of living, the government really needs to address these issues immediately.”

What to do if your card is not working

A Healthy Start helpline has been set up to address queries regarding your pre-paid card.

It is open Monday through Friday on 0300 330 7010 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

But be careful, as the news circulating on social media suggests that parents are having trouble reaching out to someone who can help them.

You should also be aware that you may be charged for calls – NHS numbers starting at 0300 cost up to 55p per minute.

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If you’re having trouble getting through this it might be worth emailing health.start@nhsbsa.nhs.uk.

If you have a problem, you can also try interacting with HealthyStart social media accounts, as these accounts are responding to many parents online.

Many families have become angry due to the problems coming in the new system.


Many families have become angry due to the problems coming in the new system.credit: getty

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