G.P.s have been told not to write prescriptions for some conditions. This is a cost cutting project. It will save £100million pounds, or so the NHS national management claim. This £100 million will only hurt the poor, and we have plenty of poor people amongst us.
The NHS national management have made some damaging decisions in the past, like cutting far too many hospital beds and privatising many mental health beds. This is another bit of nastiness.
This policy will be fine for people with money to spare, as the prescription charge could well cost more than buying medicine over the counter. However in Britain this year 4 million people used food banks, 4.1 million children are now living in relative poverty accounting for more than 30 per cent of children. Liverpool and Merseyside have high rates of child poverty. Most of these children come from families with at least one working parent. A fifth of the UK workers earn less than the living wage. Families headed by working mothers can be hardest hit because mothers on average are the worst-paid. In Liverpool last summer thousands of schools uniforms were collected and donated to those who could not afford them.
So how are people who can’t afford food or school uniform, or to keep the house really warm in winter, going to afford these medicines?
Knowing the medicine might not be available might stop people going to the doctors and serious illnesses not being spotted. Better 10 trips to the doctor for minor ailaments than one serious illnesses not being spotted.Haemorrhoids and Diarrhoea are minor problems but can be symptoms of worse.
Are we going to be having to ask football fans to bring medicines to the match to put in collections? Who would be responsible for keeping medicines safe? The idea is ridiculous. In a city with a street drugs problem, this would be dangerous.
Without these simple treatments people with little money will get more ill, will have longer off work and will long-term cost the NHS more.A mum with conjunctivitis will find it hard to go to work. Children should wear sun screen. Is it ok for poor kids to get sun burnt? What does a mum do if her child has awful colic or bad nappy rash or oral thrush? Do they not understand just how carefully many mums have to budget?
It’s not just the people directly affected. Imagine children in a class where some mums can’t get hold of head lice treatments, or Verrucae treatments.
The NHS needs decent funding and the money is there to pay that funding. Only the United States of America and China are home to more billionaires than the UK, while the combined wealth of the (very rich) list has increased 10% since 2017. We are lucky if we get a 2% pay increase. This is the fifth largest national economy in the world. Our government can fund the NHS properly but we must make it louyd and clear that a fully funded NHS is essential
The NHS protects us from some ill health caused by poverty and most poverty caused by ill health, but we need to stop the rot, stop policies that only hurt the poor.
The World Bank says ” Poverty is a major cause of ill-health and a barrier to accessing health care when needed. This relationship is financial: the poor cannot afford to purchase those things that are needed for good health, including sufficient quantities of quality food and health care.
“Ill health, in turn, is a major cause of poverty. This is partly due to the costs of seeking health care, which include not only out-of-pocket spending on care (such as consultations, tests and medicine), but also transportation costs and any informal payments to providers.
Pulse a GP newspaper commented “The guidance also does not apply to long-term or more complex conditions who will continue to get their usual prescriptions”
But it does point out that “people who receive free prescriptions will not automatically be excluded from the new guidance” So the poorest will be hit.
“Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care:
The conditions are these
- Acute sore throat
- Infequent cold sores of the lip
- Coughs, colds and nasal congestion
- Cradle cap (seborrhoeic dermatitis – infants)
- Infant colic
- Mild cystitis
- Mild irritant dermatitis
- Diarrhoea in adults
- Dry eyes/sore tired eyes
- Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Head lice
- Indigestion and heartburn
- Infrequent constipation
- Infrequent migraine
- Insect bites and stings
- Mild acne
- Mild dry skin
- Sunburn due to excessive sun exposure
- Sun protection
- Mild to moderate hayfever/seasonal rhinitis
- Minor burns and scalds
- Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and fever
- Mouth ulcers
- Nappy rash
- Oral thrush
- Prevention of dental caries
- Ringworm/athlete’s foot
- Teething/mild toothache
- Travel sickness
- Warts and verrucae
The British Medical Association has said”‘However as there has been no change to the regulations that govern GP prescribing, this guidance cannot be used by CCGs to ban all such treatments. GPs must continue to treat patients according to their individual circumstances and needs, and that includes issuing prescriptions where there are reasons why self-care is inappropriate. This guidance does make it clear that such requirements continue to apply in individual situations.”
and RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said
‘We are very pleased that NHS England have listened to our concerns and that GPs will retain the ability to use our expert medical judgement and clinical skills to prescribe medicines that are also available to buy over the counter in certain circumstances. It is also welcome that limitations will not affect patients living with longer-term and more complex conditions.’
So if you need these medicines and can’t afford them, ask for them , and quote that advice. Tell your GP what the BMA says
And please tell your MP what you think of this.
If you are keen to help the NHS come to London on June 30th to join our ceklebrate and
defend the NHS demo. Contact our facebook page for details of tickets. £20 waged £10 unwaged. Further concessions in cases of need.