MPs demand limited formulary to cut costs

MPs have called for the DoH to consider introducing a limited formulary of medicines for general practice and charging patients who miss or fail to cancel GP appointments.

A formulary would state which medicines could routinely be prescribed for which conditions, and aim to cut prescribing costs incurred by the NHS.

A Health Select Committee investigation of existing charges applied across the NHS found the current system was 'a mess'.

It called for a major review to look at whether all health charges, including fees for parking, telephone calls, prescriptions and eye tests should be abolished.

The review would also look at whether a flat fee for prescriptions, with no exemptions, could be introduced.

GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey said charging people who missed appointments was not realistic: 'I don't think it would make any difference in practice.'

He said flexible formularies could be helpful on a local basis, but warned that a national formulary could leave GPs unable to prescribe the best medicine for the patient in front of them.

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