Travel jabs and gluten-free food may no longer be available on NHS in prescriptions cost-cutting

NHS England is to launch a consultation next month which could see GPs stop prescribing medicines which are available over the counter for a fraction of the cost.

Wednesday, 29th March 2017, 11:10 am
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:27 pm

Gluten-free foods, prescriptions for hayfever tablets, indigestion remedies and omega 3 supplements as well as travel vaccinations are among the items which may no longer be available on the NHS if major cost-cutting plans go ahead.

NHS England hopes to save up to £400m a year under new national guidelines.

A consultation will be launched next month after local health posses identified “significant areas” where savings could be made.

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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.

This could include items such as paracetamol, sun cream, cough and cold treatments, and heartburn and indigestion tablets, which are thought to cost the service £128 million per year.

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

Lidocaine plasters and fentanyl, a painkiller for cancer patients, are also among the 10 items under the focus of the initial consultation.