PATIENTS whose medicines and food stuffs will no longer be available from their local doctor are to be told to buy them from a supermarket, health food shop or pharmacy instead.
It comes after restrictions placed by local doctors on prescribing certain medicines and products came into force this week.
The changes follow a money saving decision by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) of Worcestershire in July where they agreed to no longer support a number of different items, specifically:
1) To restrict the prescription of treatments and medicines for short-term, minor conditions
2) To stop the prescription of all gluten-free foods
3) To stop the prescription of soya milks, thickened infant formula, formula for lactose intolerance and all infant formula available as ready to use liquid
4) To restrict the prescription of oral nutritional supplements.
Those patients affected by the new polices will now be advised to buy the required products from a pharmacy, supermarket, health food store or online.
Redditch & Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group is currently rated as ‘Inadequate’ by NHS England and is currently aiming to make £13million in savings to limit its losses for the year 2017/18 to £5.5million.
Mari Gay, chief operating officer for the county’s three CCGs, said: “We are very grateful to the many people who shared their views and gave feedback on the proposals.
“After considering feedback from local people, national campaign groups and a review of clinical guidance we have decided to stop routinely funding certain medicines, treatments, products and food items on prescription. These items will be readily available in local supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores.
“We are aware of the concern this may cause some people and this has been a very difficult decision to make. However, given the financial challenge that we face in Worcestershire we need to take action now so that we can continue to protect other NHS services in the future.”
The decision was made in July this year following a 10 week public engagement exercise last year and a five week public engagement exercise which ran from March until April earlier this year. In total more than 5,000 people provided their views during this time.
For more information around the changes in policy, please visit www.worcestershire.nhs.uk/prescribing/