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New CCG prescribing policy- medications available over the counter

You will have been notified as attached, of the new BSOL CCG policy on prescribing medicines available over the counter.

Birmingham LMC was consulted and has commented on this policy and made its position clear that whilst the LMC supports the principles of the most cost-effective use of the NHS and of managing demand on general practice, the GMS contract places explicit prescribing obligations on practices which remain unaltered and cannot be overridden by CCG commissioning polices or guidance.

Despite the LMC expressing its concerns the final policy does not reference these GP contractual obligations. It is also regrettable that there is no longer a minor ailments service commissioned in the city, something which would have been likely to be very helpful in respect of the aims of the CCG’s policy being achieved.

You will be aware that over 90% of prescription items are now issued free of charge to a patient. If you believe a medication is clinically appropriate for a patient and the patient insists on a prescription rather than buying it OTC then a GP would be both in breach of contract and opening themselves up to the risk of a patient complaint if refusing to prescribe. Should a GP decline to prescribe for a patient in these circumstances because of the CCG guidance, I would hope that they would be confident of the full support of the CCG.

Conversely, should a GP prescribe a medication because they feel they are contractually obliged to do so, which is clinically appropriate for a patient and which is available OTC then they can be assured that they will receive the full support of both the LMC and GPC.

Click here to download the document "Prescribing Medicines".


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