NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have taken the decision to stop the routine prescribing of a range of products including gluten-free foods. The CCGs have also decided that requests by patients for more expensive brands of medicines will not be routinely supported where an appropriate, alternative generic medicine is available.
These decisions came after careful consideration, taking into account the views expressed by local people, health professionals and other stakeholders during the ‘Talk health Kirklees’ public consultation in 2016, which received over 700 responses.
During the consultation both CCGs acknowledged that their proposals for change were driven by a financial challenge and the need to invest the local NHS budget to benefit the health of the whole population and ensure value for money. While we are spending more every year on NHS services, increasing demand, alongside rising costs means we have had to look at using our budget in a different way and make some difficult decisions.
The changes came into effect during 2017 and both CCGs continue to work with GPs, third sector organisations and other stakeholders to communicate the changes to patients, address any concerns raised during the consultation process, and support those who may be affected.
The following products are not routinely available on prescription in Kirklees because they are widely available to purchase without a prescription in local pharmacies and/or supermarkets:
- 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 (moisturiser) for minor skin conditions
- camouflage products e.g. for port wine stain birthmarks
- 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.