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The Patients Association respond to prescription changes

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association, responded to the increase in prescription changes

“We agree that the NHS needs to find efficiencies, and is right to consider whether its prescribing is cost-effective. However, it needs to take care when doing this – we do not want to see medically and cost-effective treatments mistakenly included in these changes. Any patients who will have their medicines switched to alternatives should be fully consulted and informed about the change.

“While some drugs can be purchased more cheaply over the counter than through prescriptions, for families on low incomes even this small extra cost could be difficult to meet. This is particularly true where people are living with long term conditions and need ongoing supplies of medicines, however low the nominal cost. We will want to be assured that this is taken into account, and any harm mitigated, as these proposals are taken through to implementation.

“Although it’s right to ensure that public money is spent as effectively as possible, this drive for efficiencies is clearly linked to the financial pressures on the NHS. We said at the time of the Budget that the funding settlement for health and social care in the 2015 Spending Review is now plainly inadequate and needs to be revisited. Our health and social care system is at risk of a serious crisis by 2020 without this.

“Long-term transformation of health and social care services to meet the needs of patients in an ageing population is essential. We hope that the implementation plan for the Five Year Forward View due on Friday will chart a course for the change that’s needed, and look forward to it with interest. Without adequate funding however, neither sustainability nor transformation may be fully achievable for the NHS.”

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