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GP efforts hailed as CCG saves almost £2m in prescribing costs

A CCG in the East of England have hailed efforts of GPs for cutting close to £2m from its prescribing costs in the last year.

NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG said the cost reduction was down to prescribing of generic medicines, encouraging patients not to automatically order a repeat prescription and asking patients with minor conditions to buy over-the-counter medicines in pharmacies.

The news, which comes as NHS England announced that it is considering a ban on prescribing ‘low value’ over-the-counter medicines, saw the CCG £1.6m under budget 10 months into the 2016/17 financial year.

According to CCG board papers, this was an almost £1.9m spending reduction compared to last year.

NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG said its medicines management team has worked with both GPs and pharmacists over the last year to achieve the savings, as well as running a Facebook campaign aimed at patients.

A spokesperson said: ‘We’ve been encouraging the prescribing of generic medicines which have the same effect as more costly branded products.

‘People have been encouraged not to automatically tick the boxes on their repeat prescription form, only order what they need and to talk to their GP about any issues with repeat prescription medicine.

‘We’ve been raising awareness of how the pharmacy is the place to go to buy over the counter medicine for minor conditions, rather than getting a prescription from the GP.’

The spokesperson said the ‘big savings’ would ‘be used to meet the financial challenges we face over the coming year’.