NHS bans common items from prescriptions
The NHS has recently banned some “over the counter” remedies in a major cost-cutting plan. NHS England officials have ruled that items such as paracetamol, cold treatments, cough mixture, eye drops, laxatives and sun creams are among a range of products that will not be routinely prescribed.
This is part of proposals to rein in prescriptions for medicines for some minor conditions, and has received “broad support” in a public consultation
This move will save the NHS millions of pounds every year.
More than 60% of respondents to the consultation agreed that over-the-counter products should not be prescribed for a range of minor conditions, board papers show.
The changes will not affect prescriptions for long-term or complex conditions, or where minor illnesses are a symptom of something more serious.
Vulnerable patients will also continue to receive prescriptions for over-the-counter items, provided they are proven to be effective.
Treatments for constipation, cold sores, conjunctivitis, mild indigestion, dandruff, haemorrhoids, infant colic, minor burns and scalds and minor pain conditions such as headache and backache are among those which will not be routinely prescribed.
Remedies for mouth ulcers, nappy rash, ringworm, athlete’s foot, head lice, mild toothache, travel sickness, and warts and verrucae have also been dropped, as well as some vitamins and minerals.
Some of the products were available for purchase over the counter at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS.
The prescription changes could free up almost £100 million for the health service, the body added. NHS England spends £22.8 million every year on constipation treatment, £3 million on athlete’s foot and other fungal infections, and £4.5 million on dandruff shampoos.
The move follows a vote in November to remove homeopathy, herbal remedies and supplements from the prescription list as part of a review of “wasteful” prescriptions.
List of conditions affected by NHS prescription crackdown
Acute sore throat
Infrequent cold sores of the lip
Coughs and colds and nasal congestion
Cradle Cap (seborrhoeic dermatitis – infants)
Mild irritant dermatitis
Dry eyes/sore (tired) eyes
Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Indigestion and heartburn
Insect bites and stings
Mild dry skin
Mild to moderate hay fever/seasonal rhinitis
Minor burns and scalds
Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and/fever. (e.g. aches and sprains, headache, period pain, back pain)
Prevention of dental caries
Warts and verruca
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