Parents will still be able to get prescription medication for their young children without seeing their GP following a U-turn from health bosses.
Under-12s will still be eligible for pain relief and bite and sting treatment from Blackpool pharmacies under the Minor Ailment Scheme, while families will still be able to get threadworm tablets and head lice combs. The backtrack comes after proposals to axe them late last year.
But Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chiefs will still push through plans to scrap other treatments available under the scheme – originally launched to ease the pressure on GPs.
They include treatments for allergies, cystitis, diarrhoea, heartburn or indigestion, headaches, mouth ulcers, thrush, teething pain, temperatures, and conjunctivitis, it was revealed.
Doctors will also be ordered to prescribe other products readily available over the counter, or at supermarkets, only when absolutely necessary. They include paracetamol, cough and cold remedies, and cold sore treatments.
The move comes after a crackdown on the number of patients being referred for certain medical procedures, including IVF treatment, Caesarean sections, and grommets, a type of surgical hearing aid for the under-12s.
Parents with young children often need advice
The CCG has to make savings of £6.4m because of government cuts, and said it could save £161,000 a year by slashing the minor ailments scheme. But after speaking to families at road-show sessions and at parent and toddler groups, it said it had listened to people’s concerns over the impact on children’s health.
Chief clinical officer Dr Amanda Doyle said: “The feedback was that parents with young children often need advice when treating their sick child. The purpose of the scheme is to encourage people to make use of the wealth of expertise held with local pharmacies, instead of waiting for GP appointments, so it made sense to keep the scheme available but reduce the types of medication that can be obtained, and concentrate on just providing those used most frequently.”
The scheme was used 17,000 times in a 12 month period, it was revealed in November, with 172,000 people registered with a town GP. The changes will be effective from Wednesday.