Bosses at NHS Clinical Commissioners and NHS England have launched the consultation on proposals for the new policy to stop funding treatments for minor ailments and self-limiting conditions.
The move, which could save up to £136million nationwide, is aimed at encouraging more people to self-care by accessing the medication they need from local supermarkets or pharmacies, rather than relying on a prescription from a GP.
The types of prescriptions affected include items for conditions that will heal or be cured of their own accord or which lend themselves to self-care and the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical advice and can manage the condition by purchasing over-the-counter items.
It would also include items that can be purchased over the counter, sometimes at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS or for which there is little evidence of clinical effectiveness.
Dr Graham Jackson, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “It is important we have an honest conversation with the public, patients and clinicians about what the NHS should and can provide with the constrained funds it has available.
“As a part of that, it is right that we review what is currently offered on NHS prescription that is also available over-the-counter so that we can prioritise our spending on those products that are the most clinically effective and provide the best outcomes for patients.”
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “To do the best for our patients and for taxpayers it’s vital the NHS uses its funding well. This consultation gives the public the opportunity to help family doctors decide how best to deploy precious NHS resources, freeing up money from the drugs bill to reinvest in modern treatments for major conditions such as cancer, mental health and emergency care.”
The full consultation document and details of how to respond can be found at this link
The closing date to respond is 14 March 2018.