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  • Home Office consults on medicinal use of cannabis

    Home Office consults on medicinal use of cannabis

    Friday, 22 June 2018 16:15
  • Measles outbreaks prompt reminder about MMR vaccination ahead of summer holidays

    Measles outbreaks prompt reminder about MMR vaccination ahead of summer holidays

    Friday, 22 June 2018 15:46
  • Smoking levels remain unchanged in Wales at 19%

    Smoking levels remain unchanged in Wales at 19%

    Friday, 22 June 2018 15:40
  • GP services get 86% satisfaction rating in Wales

    GP services get 86% satisfaction rating in Wales

    Wednesday, 20 June 2018 18:50
  • NICE guideline says people with dementia should be involved in discussions about their care

    NICE guideline says people with dementia should be involved in discussions about their care

    Wednesday, 20 June 2018 18:47

a green cross imageMarch 12 2018

One in five people think they or their family may be financially affected by plans to restrict 3,200 over the counter medicines being available on NHS prescription. Patient groups have also raised concerns that inconsistent application of the policy, could actually increase pressure on GPs.

The comments have been highlighted by Healthwatch, in its response to the government consultation on restricting what can be prescribed on the NHS. The patient-representative organisation asked for views from Healthwatch members and the general public on NHS England’s programme of cutting prescription spend to save £141 million a year.

Healthwatch found that of those respondents who thought they family would be financially affected if they had to buy OTC medicines, two-thirds identified as being on a low income.

The draft guidelines will not ban outright the prescribing of OTC products, but allow GPs to take a patient’s ‘social factors’ into account when prescribing. “However, resources are stretched and GPs have limited time to spend with their patients,” said Healthwatch.

“They may not be in the best position to assess a patient’s social circumstances and ability to afford over the counter products. Putting the burden of this decision on already stretched GPs could lead to inconsistencies in the treatment people receive across the country.”

Other changes to the guidelines Healthwatch is calling for include:

  • there needs to be a revised assessment of how much could be saved with these changes, taking into account any exemptions where people will still be able to get these products on prescription;
  • better communicating what measures the NHS is taking to do its part by being more efficient when purchasing and managing use of medication;
  • giving doctors clear guidance that a patient’s financial position is included in the list of ‘social factors’ they can take into account when prescribing.

Links:
Healthwatch announcement    
Healthwatch. ‘What do people think about NHS prescriptions? Our response to NHS England’s consultation’. March 2018            

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