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Trusts ban GPs from referring patients for obesity surgery

Dr Peter Frith has run a successful pilot project to take patients off co-proxamol that could become a model for withdrawing the painkiller across the UK.

The scheme transferred 69 per cent of patients to alternative pain relief and took 9 per cent off painkillers entirely. Dr Frith, a GP in Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, said if patients understood the issues they were 'surprisingly co-operative'. He said his practice would only have to take 80 patients off the drug rather than 450, now that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has ordered its phased withdrawal.

The practice, along with a prescribing technician from Mansfield District PCT, issued 10 letters a week to patients taking co-proxamol.

Practice protocol

to wean patients

off co-proxamol

·Prescribing technician searched practice database for all patients on repeat prescriptions for co-proxamol

·10 letters a week were sent out to patients identified and patients were also targeted during consultations

·Patients were advised to switch to paracetamol first-line

·If the level of pain relief was not satisfactory, codeine was added

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