The NHS has issued a warning to anyone who misuses their Healthy Start prepaid card.

The NHS Healthy Start scheme helps young families and those who are pregnant and on low incomes to access healthy food and milk.

But the NHS can ban those who are caught misusing their card from further purchases.

A spokesperson for the NHS Business Services Authority said: “When people register for the scheme, they agree to the terms and conditions of the scheme and the use of the prepaid card.

“We routinely monitor use of the cards, and if we suspect a card is being misused, we will take further action with that customer. Misuse of the card could result in it being blocked.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Fresh vegetables, picturedFresh vegetables, pictured (Image: PA)

Rules on NHS Healthy Start cards

Here’s what you can and can’t buy with your NHS Healthy Start prepaid card.

People can use their NHS Healthy Start prepaid card to buy plain liquid cow’s milk; fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables; fresh, dried, and tinned pulses and infant formula milk based on cow’s milk.

The prepaid card can be used in most shops or retail outlets that sell eligible healthy food items and accept Mastercard payments. It cannot be used for online shopping or to withdraw cash from an ATM.

The NHS Healthy Start card should not be used on items with added ingredients like fat (oil), salt, sugar or flavourings, such as tinned tomatoes and herbs, kidney beans in chilli sauce, chips or onion rings.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The banned list of items also includes juiced or pre-cooked fruits in syrup and smoothies.

People must buy plain cow’s milk, which is pasteurised, sterilised, long-life or ultra-heat treated (UHT).

It should not be flavoured, coloured, evaporated, condensed, plant-based milk or powdered (unless it’s stage one infant formula).

When it comes to infant formula, this should be stage one only (first infant formula) made from cow’s milk.

People should look for ‘complete nutrition’, ‘from birth’, ‘from birth to six months’, or ‘from birth to 12 months’ on the label.

It should not be follow-on formula or milk ‘from six months’ or ‘from six to 12 months’).

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Clare Gelder, principal dietician at St Luke's Hospital, who is promoting the district's Healthy Start scheme

Mums-to-be can also get access to free vitamins under the Healthy Start scheme.

The vitamins, available from midwives and health workers as well as some GP centres, contain vitamins A, C and D and folic acid – which are all really important to help women have a healthy pregnancy and for their baby’s health.

Once their babies are born, new mums are still encouraged to continue taking vitamins while they are breastfeeding and to give them to their babies and toddlers in the form of drops.

Vitamins drops for babies are also free up to six months and if health workers think youngsters still need them after that, they can still get them free up to two years of age.

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