'˜Pharmacists could save NHS millions'

PRESCRIBING pharmacists could save the NHS millions '“ but there are only 30 in the entire area.

Pharmacists say they could save the NHS millions
Pharmacists say they could save the NHS millions

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society wants more to be done to recruit pharmacists who can prescribed medication, and says it could save cash.

It comes as the NHS in Hampshire hopes to shave off £58m from prescribing costs under a proposal in the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

All 44 NHS areas across England have drawn up STPs.

Analysis by The News and its sister titles found the plans suggest £22bn needs to be cut from the NHS, with £577m in Hampshire alone.

Neal Patel, pharmacist and spokesman for the RPS said savings could be made by freeing up GP time.

Complex patients with many conditions could be seen by pharmacists who can reduce medications, in turn reducing the risk of adverse reactions between conflicting drugs and cutting emergency admissions to hospital.

There are 30 such prescribers in the PO postcode area.

Mr Patel said: ‘It’s not unusual for people to have one, two, three or four conditions, with five or six drugs for each.

‘It’s not hard to start to have 15 or 20 medicines you’re taking.

‘You get side effects because of the combination is causing more harm than good, and suddenly because some of those started a long time ago, you might want to start reducing the side effects by reducing drugs.

‘We look at a patient as a whole to start reducing the burden of the medicines they gave and a side effect to that, they reduce the chance of them going into hospital.’

Separately, Coeliac UK has warned STPs are pitting treatments against each other – with around a third of England’s 209 CCGs already stopping prescribing gluten-free food.

The NHS South Eastern Hampshire CCG, which covers Havant, and NHS West Hampshire, which covers Wickham and Southwick, has restricted what is prescribed.

Norma McGough, from Coeliac UK, said: ‘We know it’s almost like pitting one condition against another. It’s not ideal to do that.’