GP consortia freed from drug rationing role

Individual GP consortia no longer face having to ration expensive new drugs as part of the NHS reforms, the government has announced.

Under the government’s original proposals, NICE’s rationing role would be performed by local commissioners.

The GPC had warned such a system could be ‘a recipe for chaos’ if implemented as practice boundaries were axed.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said this week that the change was ‘a sign that they are taking our concerns seriously’.

But, he added: ‘Until we have seen the final written proposals we will not be certain that this issue has finally been resolved.’

As part of the changes announced in response to the NHS Future Forum, the government said it would uphold rights set out in the NHS Constitution.

‘This includes the right to drugs and treatments recommended by NICE, which we will retain after the introduction of value-based pricing for new drugs from January 2014,’ it said.

A DoH spokeswoman said the government would be setting out more details on the issue.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said he was ‘pleased to see that NICE will continue to play a key role in helping to ensure that patients receive the best possible care on the NHS’.

He added: ‘We look forward to engaging with clinical commissioning groups and to supporting their work through the use of our guidelines, quality standards and commissioning guides.’

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