South Yorkshire residents could no longer get access to 'low-priority' items such as travel vaccinations on NHS

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Travel vaccinations, gluten-free foods and omega-3 supplements may no longer be available to South Yorkshire residents on the NHS under major cost-cutting plans.

NHS England will next month launch a consultation as it works to develop new national guidelines to stop GPs prescribing medicines and other items which are available over the counter for a fraction of the cost.

The guidelines for clinical commissioning groups will initially be developed around a set of 10 medicines deemed ineffective, unnecessary or inappropriate for the NHS.

The list includes omega-3 and fish oils, lidocaine plasters, rubefacients, liothyronine, tadalafil (not all uses), doxazosin MR, fentanyl, gluten-free foods and travel vaccines.

NHS England said these are thought to cost the service £128 million per year.

The review, which will take into account the views of patient groups, clinicians and providers, could extend to over-the-counter medicines which can often be bought at a much lower cost without prescription.

Although not included in the current proposed list, NHS provision of items such as paracetamol, suncream, cough treatments and indigestion tablets could be included in future reviews.

The consultation comes following a request by NHS clinical commissioners which identified "significant areas" where savings of up to £400 million per year could be made.

Lidocaine plasters - for back or joint pain - and fentinil - a painkiller for cancer patients - are among the 10 items under the focus of the initial consultation.

Travel vaccines protecting against typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera, and a triple jab for diptheria, polio and tetanus, will also be subject to review.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "Part of what we are trying to do is make sure that we have enough headroom to spend money on the innovative new drugs by not wasting it on these kinds of items."

A spokeswoman for NHS England said: "New guidelines will advise CCGs on the commissioning of medicines generally assessed as low priority and will provide support to clinical commissioning groups, prescribers and dispensers."

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