The DDA has highlighted the severe disadvantage to rural patients in its response to the NHS England consultation on over the counter items that should not routinely be prescribed in primary care.
Its response points out that rural dispensing patients do not, by definition, have easy access to a pharmacy to purchase the medicines proposed by the consultation. In addition, NHS regulations forbid a GP providing prescribed medicines otherwise than by prescription.
Furthermore, the guidance is so complex, convoluted, and difficult to interpret that clinicians (doctors, prescribing nurses, and pharmacists) who are already under massive demand-led pressure in the NHS are unlikely to be able to interpret the guidance accurately, causing unwarranted variation in prescribing and advice.
Further concerns include:
- Patients are very likely to need significant support to understand the changes and curtailment of NHS healthcare provision will need to be communicated effectively “at substantial cost”.
- Potential conflict with prescriber ethics
- Community pharmacy capacity to cope with the estimated 10 million additional consultations resulting from the proposals.
Read the full consultation response.