NICE says NHS could save £800m if guidance is followed

The NHS could save up to £800m if PCTs supported implementation of NICE guidance more fully, a review by the institute has suggested.

Dr Sarah Jarvis
Dr Sarah Jarvis

NICE has identified guidelines in 19 areas which could each save millions of pounds.

Around £295m could be saved from depression and anxiety services, £273m from hypertension treatment and £130m from family planning services, it believes.

‘NICE is committed to working hard to support PCTs and NHS providers to make best use of their money over the next few years, making the case for investment and disinvestment through our guidance programmes,' it said.

It suggests that following the recommendations of its hypertension guideline (CG34) will increase drug spending, but that this will be ‘far outweighed' by savings from reducing heart attacks and strokes.

West London GP Dr Sarah Jarvis said there was good evidence that spending more on medicines would help to improve patient outcomes.

‘One of the big problems is that GPs are still being encouraged to use cheaper drugs but many patients do not take these drugs because of the side-effects,' she said.

‘Within a year most patients given diuretics or calcium channel blockers will have stopped taking them, and drugs only work if you take them.'

NICE also predicted savings of £130m from increased uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).

‘The additional cost of these methods is more than offset by the costs of unplanned pregnancies,' it said.

Read this week's GP dated 9 October for the full version of this story.


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