GPs demand increase in items on the NHS blacklist

GP poll shows support for extending items NHS will not fund.

Many GPs want homeopathic treatments put on the NHS blacklist (© istockphoto.com/Jozsef Szasz-Fabian)
Many GPs want homeopathic treatments put on the NHS blacklist (© istockphoto.com/Jozsef Szasz-Fabian)

Half of GPs want the 'blacklist' of therapies that cannot be prescribed on the NHS expanded to save money, a GP poll has found.

Of 694 GP respondents, 49 per cent thought the list should be expanded to include treatments that do not offer the NHS good value for money.

Just 28 per cent of GPs did not think the list should be expanded, while 23 per cent were unsure.

The current NHS blacklist has not been updated since it was compiled in 1985.

Many GPs argued that homeopathic treatments and erectile dysfunction therapies should not be available on the NHS.

Some argued that all treatments available over-the-counter (OTC) from pharmacies should be added to the list.

Others called for specific OTC treatments, such as paracetamol oral suspensions and cough medicines, to be barred from prescription on the NHS.

Emollients, glucosamine and gluten-free products were also identified as products that did not offer good value for money and should not be prescribable on the NHS.

The blacklist was originally drawn up to include treatments that were deemed to be too expensive to justify NHS funding, not necessary or which had no medicinal use.

The list of 'drugs, medicines and services not to be ordered under a GMS contract' is set out in Part XVIIIA of the NHS Drug Tariff.

A number of products on the list are no longer available and of those that are, the vast majority are branded OTC treatments for minor ailments.

A DoH spokesman said there were no plans to update Part XVIIIA of the drug tariff.

He said prescribers had access to a wide range of information to support prescribing.

The DoH relied on prescribers to exercise their professional judgment to prescribe clinically and cost effectively and in the best interests of their patients, he said.

On The List?
Therapies GPs would 'blacklist':
  • Homeopathic treatments
  • Erectile dysfunction therapies
  • Treatments available over-the-counter
  • Paracetamol oral suspensions
  • Cough medicines
  • Emollients
  • Glucosamine
  • Gluten-free products

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