NHS proposals could place GPs “in breach of contract”

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that plans to limit over-the-counter prescriptions could place GPs “in breach of contract”.

In December, NHS England proposed that GPs should stop prescribing over-the-counter medicines for more than 30 non-significant health concerns.

The 33 conditions listed in the proposals include coughs and colds, mild migraine, malaria prevention and haemorrhoids.

But the BMA says that if a GP were made to refuse to issue an FP10 for treatment that they had recommended “they would clearly be in breach” of the GMS contract and be “open to complaint and possible financial redress”.

It says it would not support a change from the current wording for effective medications unless “comprehensively available alternative provision for NHS supply, such as through minor ailment scheme, were provided”.

The BMA adds that GPs would be placed in the unacceptable position of having to make value-judgments about the likelihood of patients being able to access the required medications if an FP10 is not provided – and “errors of judgment, complaints, and missed-treatments” would be inevitable.

BMA boss Angela Kyle also indicates that the proposals would disproportionately affect older patients, patients with disabilities and pregnant people under the Equality Act 2010.

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