NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to support Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in ensuring that they can use their prescribing resources effectively and consistently. They are currently holding a national consultation about items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care.
There is quite an extensive list of items suggested that CCGs stop new prescriptions for and seek de-prescribing for those who take them. Items include:
- Travel vaccinations such as Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Rabies, BCG, Tick-borne encephalitis and some others.
- Homeopathy treatments and herbal products;
- The antidepressant Dosulepin; and
- Oxycodone and Naloxone combination product is used to treat severe pain and can also be used as a second line treatment for restless legs syndrome.
Other products included are items that can be purchased over the counter and items used to treat a condition that is self-limiting and will heal on its own accord for example:
- Painkillers (analgesics) and medicines for fever (antipyretics), such as paracetamol and ibuprofen;
- Cough and cold remedies;
- Ear wax removal liquid; and
- Laxatives for constipation.
According to NHS England 1.1 billion prescriptions items were dispensed in primary care last year at a cost of £9.2 billion.
NHS England said: “We know that across England there is significant variation in what is being prescribed and to whom. Often patients are receiving medicines which have been proven to be ineffective or in some cases dangerous, for which there are other more effective, safer and/or cheaper alternatives. It’s important that the NHS achieves the greatest value from the money that it spends and that is why we are undergoing this review.”
You can take part in the consultation at www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/items-routinely-prescribed/ although it closes on Saturday 21st October 2017.