‘Low priority’ items may not be prescribed

Travel vaccinations, gluten-free foods and omega-3 supplements may no longer be available on the NHS under major cost-cutting plans. (Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA)
Travel vaccinations, gluten-free foods and omega-3 supplements may no longer be available on the NHS under major cost-cutting plans. (Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA)
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Travel vaccinations, gluten-free foods and omega-3 supplements may no longer be available on the NHS under major cost-cutting plans.

NHS England will next month launch a consultation as it works to develop new national guidelines to stop GPs prescribing medicines and other items which are available over the counter for a fraction of the cost.

The guidelines for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will initially be developed around a set of 10 medicines deemed ineffective, unnecessary or inappropriate for the NHS.

The list includes omega-3 and fish oils, and the 10 are thought to cost the service £128 million per year, NHS England said.

Blackpool CCG has already scrapped certain treatments and procedures to save money, and called on GPs to prescribe paracetamol only when necessary.

It also reduced the number of treatments available under the minor ailments scheme. Alongside Fylde and Wyre CCG, it also scrapped prescriptions for gluten-free foods.

Paracetamol, which costs the NHS £10.31 to prescribe, could be included in future reviews nationally.