Proposed changes to Prescriptions and Medicines in Sandwell and West Birmingham

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This work has now been completed - to read the consultation report please click here. 

Due to the general election this consultation has been extended by four weeks until Thursday 13 July.

The challenge faced by all NHS organisations is how to spend the available budget in ways that most benefit the health of the whole population and deliver good value-for-money.  We have a duty to ensure that every service we buy on your behalf is delivered to a high standard, is clinically effective and can be provided within our budget.

We are proposing to change the way we ask our GPs to prescribe certain medicines for short-term, minor conditions or where there is no clear health benefit for patients. For example, for medicines to treat minor conditions like coughs and sore throats, you do not always need to visit your GP as these can be bought over the counter from your local community pharmacist.

In Sandwell and West Birmingham, it is estimated that we spend about £1.5M per year on unnecessary prescribing. If we were not spending this money, we would be able to invest in new, high cost treatments for conditions such as heart failure, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

We have reviewed the money we spend on prescribing certain medicines, treatments, products and food items. The items reviewed are either:

  • widely available over the counter (in local pharmacies or local shops) at  a retail price that is lower than the NHS prescription charge (currently £8.40 per item)
  • for conditions that there is no clinical need to treat
  • supported by insufficient evidence of clinical benefit or cost effectiveness.
From this review, we have identified a range of treatments and medicines that we want GPs to decide about whether or not they prescribe for their patients.  Our proposals include reconsidering:

  • the prescribing of treatments and medicines for short term, minor illnesses (please see Appendix 1) prescribing where there is insufficient evidence of clinical benefit or cost-effectiveness (please see Appendix 2)
  • prescribing where they may not be a clinical need to  treat (please see Appendix 3)
  • the prescribing of gluten free foods.

At this stage these remain proposals – no final decisions have been made.  We are committed to hearing people’s views before making a decision. Our public consultation will run from 23 March - 13 July and all views will then be considered by our Governing Body.

To read the consultation document please click here

Have your say 

By completing our survey online:

If you are unable to join one of our public meetings and would like to have your say, you can contact the Engagement Team by telephoning 0121 612 1447 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Upcoming opportunities for the public, patients and other stakeholders to get involved in our consultations and engagement work will be advertised here shortly.