On the 4th of October the four Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will launch a public consultation on proposed changes to what they prescribe.
The four CCGs are asking for your views on their proposal to restrict the prescribing of over the counter/minor ailment medicines used for short-term, self-limiting conditions. Over the counter medicines are those that can be bought from your local pharmacy or supermarket, and include medicines like painkillers and antihistamines.
In addition, the CCGs’ proposal includes restricting the prescription of gluten-free products, baby milk (including specialist infant formula) and nutritional supplements – unless in exceptional circumstances. However, these medicines and products will still be available for conditions where the clinical need can only be met by prescription.
“We would like to consult with the public about how we spend our healthcare funds in order to get the greatest benefit for patients. We think the money we spend on items that are readily available over the counter might be better spent on treatments, staff, and essential services that patients cannot get in any other way,” explains Dr Kevin Hill, GP and Chair, South Lincolnshire CCG.
"People are living longer and often requiring an increased level of support from the NHS, and we have to do something if we are to be able to continue providing the safest and highest quality health services to our patients.”
“Like everyone we have to balance the books and not live beyond our means – whilst at the same time getting the best possible care and treatment for patients. In reviewing the medicines we prescribe, it has become clear that we could make substantial reductions in our prescribing costs if we ask those people in a position to buy their own over the counter type medicines, like paracetamol and antihistamines, to do precisely this,” adds John Turner, Chief Officer, South Lincolnshire CCG.
The Lincolnshire CCGs are committed to involving as many people as possible in the consultation launching on Tuesday. Proposed service changes will ensure the health budget for Lincolnshire is spent as effectively as possible, whilst minimizing waste and promoting self-care.
“Our entire consultation process has been designed to be as fair and transparent as possible. We will ensure we are clear and concise in what we say, and we will make sure we provide enough information so that those consulted can provide an informed response,” says John.
The consultation will run from 4 October to 18 November 2016. Any changes as a result of the consultation will come into effect from 1 December 2016. Following the consultation there will be a review of the findings and this will inform whether the proposed changes are implemented or not.
“Whilst our proposal includes restricting the prescribing of gluten-free products, baby milk (including specialist infant formula) and nutritional supplements, people who need to be prescribed medicines for conditions where the clinical need can only be met by prescription will continue to receive them as usual. It is really those people who use over the counter medicines who we are asking to consider buying their own. We want to emphasise that no decisions have been made or will be made until we have consulted with the public and heard their views,” concludes Dr Hill.