…and taxpayers cheered, and said ‘More, more! Cut deeper!’. And lo, it came to pass:
NHS England is proposing to cut free prescriptions for over-the-counter remedies such as dandruff shampoo, eye drops and indigestion tablets in an effort to make up a shortfall in its funding.
Yup, things you can buy in Boots, all major supermarkets and even your local newsagent are being provided on prescription. At inflated cost, naturally.
Promoting the idea, NHS England revealed that it currently spends £4.5m a year on dandruff shampoos – a sum that would fund 1,200 hip replacements. It said 300 community nurses could be funded from the £7.5m spent on treatments for indigestion and heartburn.
It’s a gaping hole in NHS finances, and it needs to stop.
The Patients Association said the plans would unnecessarily worry many vulnerable people in the run-up to Christmas.
Its chief executive, Rachel Power, said the proposals threatened to change the relationship between GPs and patients.
If there’s any such ‘relationship’, it’s a bloody abusive one!
I spent most of the morning of the 21st December driving my mother around, first to a walk in clinic because she couldn’t get the cream she needed for her contact dermatitis without prescription, and she couldn’t get a prescription without a GP appointment they didn’t have until the next week, then home again because they couldn’t give her a prescription either, as she’d had one from them before (the last time when she couldn’t get a GP appointment) so it would count as a ‘repeat’, and we then had to wait for an appointment with an out of hours GP, which we couldn’t even phone for until 2pm when the lines opened.
We finally got her prescription – after phoning the number from 2pm on the dot every 2-3 minutes on redial, because it was continually engaged, we got through at 3:25, were kept on hold for another 15-20 minutes, then given an 8:15 appointment to see a doctor at yet another walk in clinic.
The hallowed ‘consultation’ took less than a minute. All to serve the Byzantine bureaucracy the NHS shrouds itself in.
“GPs will be asked to implement guidance involving a complex set of criteria and exceptions,” she said.
You mean, they’ll be asked to do they job they supposedly train for years for? Well, pardon me if I don’t join in the weep-fest here.
“Mistakes are bound to happen, and for some patients a GP appointment will come to feel more like a benefits assessment, where they wait to find out at the end whether they will receive support or not – and sadly we know there are major shortcomings with that system.”
So there’ll be no safety net for genuine cases, then?
Items prescribed for longer-term or more complex conditions would not be affected, and nor would prescriptions for minor illnesses symptomatic of something more serious, NHS England said.
Ah! So, there will be – those who genuinely need them on prescription for sound medical reason will continue to get them.
And the rest of the lazy entitled benefit-sponges will have to buy them in Sainsbury’s, like everyone else.
H/T: HandofGod via Twitter