The NHS supplies millions of prescriptions for medicines to patients every year. Along with NHS England and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the country the four CCGs in Berkshire West have reviewed what medicines are available on prescription and are proposing to make some changes. Dr Abid Irfan, GP Chair of the Berkshire West Federation said: “If implemented, these changes could save the up to £1.8 million a year, which could be spent on other NHS services to benefit more patients. We’re launching a consultation so that local people can give us their views on our proposals.”
To standardise prescribing across Berkshire West, the CCGs are proposing that GPs should stop prescribing medicines, such as painkillers, cold remedies, vitamins, and sunscreen, which are available over the counter.
Another area we want to tackle is wasted medicines. The current repeat prescribing system can lead to waste through the automatic supply of medicines that are stockpiled and go out of date or aren’t used by patients. The CCGs are proposing a new process for repeat prescribing that would address this, whilst ensuring that frail, elderly and other vulnerable patients still get the medicines they need.
We are also proposing to stop prescribing gluten free foods because there is a much wider range of foods easily available in supermarkets now and there are a number of naturally gluten-free foods that can be eaten as part of a healthy diet, such as rice, potatoes, millet flour and corn flour.
In our proposals the NHS would no longer fund travel vaccines and patients would need to pay for these themselves.
Our detailed proposals are contained within the consultation document and we are now seeking the views of local people. The CCGs have launched a consultation that runs until 28 April 2017. The questionnaire can be completed online here or you can request a paper copy by emailing or phoning 0300 123 6264.