NHS England launches test strips consultation
NHS England is considering new guidance calling for GPs to prescribe cheaper alternatives of blood glucose test strips for people with type 2 diabetes.
Needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens are also on a list of items highlighted as having lower-cost substitutes.
The organisation has launched a three-month consultation on measures it says aim to “ensure consistency” and encourage commissioners and prescribers to consider “cost-effective options”.
The document called ‘Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: an update and a consultation on further guidance for CCGs’ also considers banning the prescribing of gluten free pizzas, cakes and biscuits
It also set out plans to curb other low priority items such as silk garments and bath oils in moves that could save almost £70 million a year.
Commenting on glucose testing strips and needles and pens, the document says: “The proposed recommendations on glucose testing strips and needles are focused on substitution for cheaper, but equally effective products, not a reduction in prescribing of these items.
“There are many different types of insulin pen needles available at a varying cost from £3.95 to £30.08 for 100 and strips range in price from £5.45 to £16.53 for 50. The aim is to ensure consistency across the country and encourage commissioners and prescribers to consider the more cost-effective options to release savings, while not affecting patient care.”
Chief Executive NHS England Simon Stevens added: “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.”
To access the document, click here.