'Low-value' prescription crackdown can see travel jabs and gluten-free food no longer available on NHS
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NHS England doctors may be prevented from providing patients with travel vaccinations, prescriptions for hayfever and indigestion tablets and omega 3 supplements following significant budget cuts. With these new guidelines in place, the health service looks to save up to £400 million per year. A consultation will be launched next month and will look into the areas where possible savings could be made. Guidelines will then be made for clinical commissioning groups around a set of ten medicines deemed ineffective or inappropriate for the NHS. This will take into consideration the views of patients, clinicians and providers and could extend to over the counter medication which can normally be purchased at a much cheaper rate without a prescription. It has been revealed that prescriptions for these over-the-counter items including paracetamol, cough syrups and hayfever treatment cost NHS England around £128 million per year. Among the ten medications taken into consideration in the initial consultation is Fentanyl, a painkiller used by cancer sufferers, and Lidocaine plasters for joint and back pain. Travel vaccines that protect against typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera as well as a triple jab for polio, diphtheria and tetanus will also be up for review. Currently, the health service offers these vaccinations free in order to protect against diseases brought into the country by travellers.
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