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Health board to investigate £1.6m overspend in GP prescribing

An overspend in GP prescribing of £1.6m in just two months has prompted an investigation by NHS Lothian into ways of cutting costs.

GP prescribing represents the single largest variance in NHS Lothian’s finances during April and May, the first two months of the current financial year.

Figures from NHS Lothian show that the health board has already overspent by £4.2m across all services during 2015/16.

NHS Lothian director of finance Susan Goldsmith said: ‘The position in GP prescribing is the single largest adverse variance so far this year. In recognition of this significant pressure, a detailed report on cost pressures and mitigating actions will be presented to the finance and resource committee.’

Readers' comments (9)

  • Yep, just go and lock all the GPs and throw away the key.
    This will be the key solution to all NHS woes.
    Then feel free to declare privatization...hmmm .. 'Camhuntization' of the system!

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  • Maybe they should get patients to,pay for prescriptions!

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  • What we need are some more guidelines for GP prescribing and more helpful advice from the DOH. We really get so little instruction from them about how we should be doing our jobs!

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  • maybe the government should get real with the public and run a PR campaign to stop them all expecting everything for free on prescription.

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  • A very simple and effective solution would be to make the GPs pay to be inversely proportional to the amount of prescribing,referrals and whatever else the powers above don't want us to do.

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  • make patients pay a percentage for their prescriptions.

    suddenly those that insist on nexium rather than lansoprazole will change their tune.

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  • simple. stop anything that is available otc be prescribable. Paracetmol (let people buy packs of 50?), ibuprofen, all the emolients, gaviscon....the list goes on. would easily wipe out the defecit in one sweep and hopefully cut out a lot of useless consultations.

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  • I support 08.47. The government has to officially announce to stop all OTC available medications to be prescribed under NHS.
    We see people coming for prescriptions of bath emollients instead of paying £ 1-2 for them.
    The support workers are very helpful in this because the individuals are told to go to GP and say " you have dry skin" and get a bath emollient.
    We doctors should not be blamed for the "No"s. It has to be a government initiative.

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  • I dont agree, with the one respondent, that this represents "privatisation" in the NHS. Clearly, cost pressures and budgets on drug prescribing is a long standing issue over many years, and several governments, and also is topical in our EU neighbours.

    unfortunately, although I agree that reducing the prescribing of OTC drugs could help, it may present other issues for the GP to act as gatekeeper to drugs, which could have unexpected workload consequences. Also, it would not significantly alter the budget.

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