National consultations

‘Low value’ medicines consultation

On 21 July 2017, NHS England published detailed plans – drawn up with family doctors and pharmacists – to cut out prescriptions for ineffective, over-priced and low value treatments.

Helping to trim hundreds of millions from the nation’s rapidly growing drugs bill will create headroom to reinvest all savings in newer and more effective NHS medicines and treatments.

A formal public consultation was launched (21 July 2017) on new national guidelines which state that 18 treatments – including homeopathy and herbal treatments – which together cost taxpayers £141 million a year should generally not be prescribed.

Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, described homeopathy as “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”.

In addition the consultation also covers a further 3,200 prescription items, many of which are readily available and sold ‘over the counter’ in pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, corner shops and other retailers, often at a significantly lower price than the cost to the NHS.

The consultation proposes initial action to limit prescribing of products for minor self-limiting conditions which currently cost taxpayers £50-100 million a year. The products include cough mixture and cold treatments, eye drops, laxatives and sun cream lotions.

The consultation closes on 21 October 2017.

Read the consultation document and take part in the Online Survey

Date: 28 July 2017

Availability of gluten-free foods on NHS prescription

Date: 31 March 2017

The Department of Health is running an open consultation on the Availability of gluten-free foods on NHS prescription.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group stopped all Gluten Free products on prescription with effect from 1st January 2017 with the exception of pregnant women (from the point of confirmed pregnancy) and young people under the age of 18.

The Department of Health consultation is considering ending the prescription of all gluten-free foods which would bring a national approach to gluten-free prescribing.

The Department of Health consultation closes at midday on 22 June 2017. Click here to view the documents and give your views on the proposals. 

This consultation is now closed.

Update: 14 February 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care made the following announcement (1 February 2018) on the outcome of the Gluten Free Food Prescribing Consultation:

"Following its consultation on the availability of gluten-free foods on NHS prescription, the government has decided to restrict gluten-free prescribing to bread and mixes only."

Full details of the consultation and government decision are available here