Blood glucose testing strips could no longer be available on the NHS in an effort to make savings of up to £70m, it has been announced.

In a consultation published today (28 November), NHS England said that it is looking at restricting ‘low-priority’ prescriptions including blood glucose test strips and amiodarone, a drug used to treat abnormal heartbeats.

Earlier this year, NHS England announced that it will stop prescribing 18 ‘low-value’ items, including homeopathy and over-the-counter (OTC) products, used to treat 35 minor conditions. The health service also said that guidance limiting the prescribing of gluten-free products such as bread and flour mixes will be published next week.


Cost saving measures


The new items under consultation include:

  • Silk garments.
  • Aliskiren, which treats blood pressure.
  • Amiodarone, which is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Bath and shower emollient preparations.
  • Dronedarone, an atrial fibrillation drug.
  • Minocycline, which is used to treat acne.
  • Blood glucose testing strips.
  • Needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens. Under the proposals, these could be substituted for more cost-effective products.


Investing in frontline care


NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, said: ‘The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but, as part of the long term plan for the NHS, we’re determined to make taxpayers’ money go further and drive savings back into frontline care.

‘It is essential the NHS should not be paying for anything which has been proven to be ineffective or where there are safer or cheaper alternatives.’

The consultation runs between 28 November and 28 February 2019.