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CCGs ban routine prescription of some treatments

GPs in Yorkshire will be told to stop prescribing some products, including gluten-free foods

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield CCGs have decided to impose a ban on GPs routinely prescribing a range of products, including gluten-free foods, to save money.

GPs will also be told to turn down requests by patients for more expensive brands of medicines where an appropriate, alternative generic medicine is available, and the criteria for approving individual funding requests will be amended.

The changes, which will come into effect during 2017, mean that a range of products widely available to purchase without a prescription in local pharmacies and/or supermarkets will not routinely be available on prescription in Kirklees. These include: gluten-free foods, sunscreens for skin protection from UV radiation, soya and thickened infant formulas, infant formula for lactose intolerance, cream for unwanted facial hair and other products that have a predominantly cosmetic action, emollient for minor skin conditions, camouflage products e.g. for port wine stain birthmarks, and multivitamins, where no specific deficiency has been identified.

GPs will still be able to prescribe these products in certain circumstances, for example on the recommendation of a specialist consultant, or where patients have a metabolic disease or other clinical diagnosis which necessitates their use.

Dr David Kelly, chair of NHS North Kirklees Governing Body said: “Decisions like this are difficult and we know that some people will find them hard to accept, but the money saved can be spent on things that have much more of an impact on people’s health.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG Governing Body added: “The NHS budget is just the same as everyone’s household budget – we can only spend the money we have. When the bills get higher we have to tighten our belt and cannot always keep buying more services.”

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