Get involved in proposed changes to prescriptions

Residents in B&NES are being encouraged to have their say on draft national guidelines that would cut prescriptions of medicines deemed as being of low priority for NHS funding.

NHS England has launched a formal consultation on new national guidelines which state that 18 treatments – including homeopathy, travel vaccines and herbal treatments (which together cost UK taxpayers £141 million a year) should no longer be routinely prescribed by GPs.

The consultation also seeks views on the prescribing of products for minor self-limiting conditions which are readily available over the counter, at supermarkets and other retailers, often at a lower price than the cost to the NHS.  The products include cough mixture and cold treatments, eye drops, laxatives and sun cream lotions.

Following local consultation, the CCG has already made some changes to its prescribing policies for gluten-free foods for patients with coeliac disease and two types of over-the-counter products – antihistamines and painkillers – where they are used to treat minor, short-term ailments.

Dr Ian Orpen, Clinical Chair at the CCG and local GP said; “This is an important piece of work by NHS England and we are reviewing the proposed new guidelines and considering the potential implications for our local prescribing policies.”

“Here in B&NES, similar to the national picture, our health and care services are facing unprecedented financial pressures.  We are looking very carefully at where we can make some savings. This includes more effective use of our medicines budget and cutting back expenditure on medicines that have very limited or no clinical value for patients.”

He added; “These proposed new guidelines are an opportunity for residents to play their role in reducing demand for services and costs by managing common minor ailments themselves with the support of a community pharmacist.”

To find out more and get involved, visit the NHS England website here. The consultation will close on Saturday 21 October, after which national commissioning guidance will be issued to CCGs to inform their decisions about changes to local prescribing policies.