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12 July 2019

Updated NHS England Guidance for CCGs – Emollient Wash Products No Longer To Be Prescribed

This disappointing decision comes despite 65% of respondents to the consultation disagreeing with the proposal.

Earlier in 2019, NHS England held a consultation to gather feedback on its proposal that a number of medicines/products, including ‘bath and shower preparations for dry and pruritic skin conditions’ should no longer routinely be prescribed in primary care. Given that this would adversely affect many people who currently obtain these products on prescription for their psoriasis, we encouraged you to respond directly to the consultation and share your concerns.

Unfortunately, we have now been made aware that NHS England has decided to push through with this proposal which advises local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that GPs and nurse prescribers in primary care should no longer offer bath and shower preparations to their patients on prescription. The guidance states that 'no routine exceptions have been defined’ so concessions will not be made for people with long term conditions, such as psoriasis.

You can read the full wording of the recommendation here (skip to page 16)

We are particularly disappointed that this decision has been made despite a clear majority (65%) of respondents to the consultation disagreeing with the proposal, with disagreement highest among patient and public respondents – the people who, ultimately, will be impacted by the implementation of this guidance.

Please click here and see pages 16-19 for full details of the response to the consultation

What can I do about this?

If you feel strongly about this issue, we would recommend that you contact your local MP and advise them of your concerns. Your MP can take the issue forward on your behalf both locally and by raising the broader issue within Parliament itself.

You can find your local MP here, and access a template letter which you can adapt and edit to suit your needs here.

If you do contact your MP, please let us know and keep us updated on any action they are prepared to take on your behalf.

Is this connected to the ‘emollient rationing’ issue?

The two issues are distinct as they stem from separate NHS England guidance – we agree that this is very confusing!

If you are currently finding it difficult to get leave-on emollients on prescription from your GP, this is quite possibly due to a misinterpretation by your local CCG of the guidance ‘Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: Guidance for CCGs’ which was published in March 2018.

This guidance recommends that emollients should no longer be prescribed in primary care for ‘mild dry skin’ (see page 27), however long term conditions, such as psoriasis, are exempt (see page 12).

To clarify, if you have psoriasis, you ARE entitled to obtain leave-on emollients on prescription. Please direct your GP or nurse prescriber to the relevant pages of the NHS England guidance if you have any issues, and consider contacting your MP (see above).