Our Gateshead

Newcastle CVS response to OTC consultation

Dear NHSE and NHS CC
Re Consultation on ‘Conditions for which over the counter items (OTC)should not
be routinely prescribed in primary care’
Newcastle CVS is the lead infrastructure organisation for Newcastle and Gateshead’s
voluntary and community sector. As well as developing and supporting voluntary and
community organisations to be more sustainable and resilient, we organise networks and
events and represent the voluntary and community sector in strategic discussions. We
carry out research and produce policy studies. We have over 750 member and associate
organisations that are local voluntary and community organisations, CICs and social
enterprises and operate in Newcastle and Gateshead.
We engage actively in health issues and local health involvement and engagement
activities. We were not made aware of this consultation and given that voluntary and
community groups work with the people who are most likely to be affected by these
proposals, we are surprised about this. It is not clear how any consultation was carried out
in the North East of England to involve organisations representing people with particular
The issue of OTC medications was discussed with the North East STP initial consultation
last January in a disproportionate way. Clearly stopping anything will usually save money,
but we believe this a drop in the ocean compared to such initiatives as PFI, the NHS IT
Spine and the duplication of all the management costs and groups and structures within
the current NHS. This seems to be the NHS trying to prove it is “cutting costs”, albeit at the
expense of some of the poorest communities.
This issue has been on the NHS agenda for many years, and we recognise that doesn’t
mean it shouldn’t be tackled; however it is somewhat ironic it is being consulted upon in a
time of austerity, when even the costs of medication are too high for many people to cover.
The paper is written in such a way that it can’t be considered to be an objective document.
Appendix 3 (page 37 of 44) considers the ‘unintended consequences’; whereas Page 6
which includes a list of alternative treatments for funding illustrates how “every £1m saved
on prescriptions for OTC could fund”. Whilst this list is presumably correct, it could equally
apply to £1m saved by less managerial bureaucracy, duplication, PFI payments, wastage
on the NHS IT Spine or anything else.
There are apparently a number of issues that are being conflated:
• Cost
• Efficacy
• And those conditions that will selfheal

See the attached document below 

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