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GPs face restrictions on glucose testing strip and bath emollient prescribing



GPs may be told no longer prescribe blood glucose testing strips and bath and shower emollient preparations.

The two items feature in NHS England’s latest consulation on prescribing of ‘low value’ items, after guidance published earlier this year already advised against prescribing a range of products.

It will also consult on ending prescribing of needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens, as well as capsaicin cream.

The new list also contains a number of items which are rarely prescribed by GPs such as silk garments, and usually specialist-prescribed items amiodarone and aliskeren.

NHS England said the motley list was collated on the basis of the items being:

  • ‘of relatively low clinical effectiveness’;
  • ‘clinically effective but where more cost-effective items are available’;
  • ‘clinically effective but, due to the nature of the item… deemed a low priority for NHS funding’.

The three-month consultation will open today and run until 28 February, after which NHS Enlgand and NHS Clinical Commissioners will publish new guidance.

NHS England’s earlier crackdown on over-the-counter and ‘low value’ items included prescriptions for over-the-counter medicines for conditions such as constipation, diarrhoea and athlete’s foot.

NHS England said it would also publish updated guidance on prescribing of gluten-free foods today, following the Department of Health and Social Care’s decision – announced last month – to limit prescriptions to just bread and flour mixes.

Full list of items under consultation

New items

  • Silk garments
  • Aliskiren – used to treat blood pressure
  • Amiodarone – used to treat abnormal heart rhythms
  • Bath and shower emollient preparations
  • Dronedarone – used to treat atrial fibrillation
  • Minocycline – used to treat acne
  • Blood glucose testing strips
  • Needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens – proposed recommendations are focused on substitution for more cost-effective products rather than a reduction in prescribing of these items.

Reviewed item

  • Rubefacients (excluding topical NSAIDs) it is proposed that guidance on rubefacients (excluding topical NSAIDS), initially published in November 2017, be updated to consider exclusion of capsaicin cream, in line with NICE guidance.

Source: NHS England