Cost-cutting CCG limits on GP prescribing must stop, LMCs warn

GPs leaders have urged the DH to undertake a national review of GPs' prescribing powers and called for a ban on CCGs being able to set local prescribing limits based on cost and availability.

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer: warning over prescribing lottery (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer: warning over prescribing lottery (Photo: JH Lancy)

Delegates at the England LMCs conference warned that CCGs were imposing local restrictions that undermine GPs' ability to provide clinically appropriate medication for patients, creating a 'prescribing lottery'.

LMCs backed a motion calling for the DH to review GP prescribing regulations and entitlements and for delegated CCGs to 'remove pressure on CCGs to reduce or limit clinically appropriate prescribing'. The motion was approved despite a GPC warning that asking for the DH review could be 'risky'.

Opening the debate at the London conference Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer from Hertfordshire LMC urged delegates to stand against the ‘covert rationing’ taking place through local CCG restrictions on prescribing.

‘This is inequitable and indefensible decision-making without any evidence base to support quality,’ she said.

‘GPs are being asked not to provide clinically appropriate medication based on cost or availability. GPs have a contractual obligation to provide this treatment – it’s a random prescribing lottery with GPs exposed to risk.

Read more: full conference coverage

‘If patients complain to the ombudsman then you, not the CCG, are responsible for recompensing that patient. They're leaving us with the fallout and complaints.’

She argued that the DH should create new legislation if it wants to reduce costs by restricting prescribing of certain drugs.

‘GPs shouldn’t be prescribing some items,’ she said. ‘I think this is what it comes down to. We need national policy, not local rationing.

‘The DH could easily create an alternative commissioning route for provision of these. If the government wishes to reduce costs, then let government produce the evidence and legislation on this. The existing measures are not fair on patients – and they're not fair on us.’

GPC clinical and prescribing lead Dr Andrew Green warned delegates that asking the DH to review prescribing regulations and entitlements was a ‘brave’ move.

‘There are those within the establishment that would love our requirement to prescribe to be taken away from us; it would enable CCGs to do what they're already trying to do.

‘Asking the big boys on the beach to knock down your sandcastle on the basis you're trusting them to build something better is a big decision, so please think hard on this.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs who visit care homes face mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, government confirms

GPs who visit care homes face mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, government confirms

All people working in care homes - including GPs visiting patients - will be required...

Just one seat on each NHS integrated care system board will represent GPs

Just one seat on each NHS integrated care system board will represent GPs

Representatives of general practice will hold just one out of 10 seats in total on...

Dorset GP Dr Helena McKeown stands down as BMA chief officer

Dorset GP Dr Helena McKeown stands down as BMA chief officer

BMA chief officer and chair of the association's representative body Dr Helena McKeown...

NHS to set up £30m GP enhanced service for long COVID

NHS to set up £30m GP enhanced service for long COVID

NHS England is set to commission a £30m GP enhanced service for long COVID to boost...

Three quarters of GPs face 'mental distress' after working through pandemic, BMA warns

Three quarters of GPs face 'mental distress' after working through pandemic, BMA warns

Three quarters of GPs are facing 'mental distress' because factors such as heavy...

NHS operating procedure for primary care to remain until UK lifts all COVID-19 restrictions

NHS operating procedure for primary care to remain until UK lifts all COVID-19 restrictions

The NHS standard operating procedure (SOP) for primary care will remain in place...