NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners launch further consultation on prescribable items of low priority for NHS funding

At the NHS England board meeting today, our new joint consultation with NHS England was published. The consultation contains recommendations on 8 new items which have the potential to release £68m per year to spend on higher priority areas. The items that are subject to the consultation fall into three categories:

  • Items of relatively low clinical effectiveness
  • Items which are clinically effective but where more cost-effective items are available
  • Items which are clinically effective but, due to the nature of the item, are deemed a low priority for NHS funding.

The consultation published today builds on our work with NHS England to identify areas of current NHS spend that could be better utilised for higher priority areas, such as cancer care and mental health. It follows on from the commissioning guidance that was produced on items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care and conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care.

Graham Jackson - board meetingDr Graham Jackson, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners and clinical lead of Buckinghamshire ICS, commented:

“Across the country CCGs are striving to ensure the NHS budget is spent effectively and delivers the best outcomes for patients. This consultation is part of a programme of work that we have undertaken with NHS England to support CCGs to do just that in their local area.  It is right that the NHS reviews what it offers, and where there are more effective, safer and/or cheaper medicines and products available we should prioritise our spending on those alternatives. This means stopping spending on those less effective products, switching to cheaper alternatives and, in some cases, stopping prescribing of those items where that money could be better spent elsewhere, for example, on cancer and mental health services.

“Through the consultation process we want to have an open and honest dialogue with the public, patients and clinicians and about what the NHS should and can provide with the limited funds it has available. We also want to discuss ways of promoting self care, when this is appropriate. We therefore need to hear views from across the country, either in response to the consultation or through the engagement events that we will be holding during the consultation period.”

Simon Stevens-10Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said in a statement released by NHS England:

“The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but, as part of the long term plan for the NHS, we’re determined to make taxpayers’ money go further and drive savings back into frontline care. It is essential the NHS should not be paying for anything which has been proven to be ineffective or where there are safer or cheaper alternatives.”

Respond to the consultation

You can see the full consultation document and details of how to respond to this on NHS England’s website. The closing date to respond is Thursday 28 February 2019.

Details of public consultation events can be found here.

Further information

You can see a set of FAQs with more information on the NHS England website.