When silk pyjamas are not a luxury on the NHS

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When silk pyjamas are not a luxury

Image copyright AMANDA
Image caption Amanda says she cannot afford to lose NHS prescriptions which help her son cope with eczema

How would you feel if prescriptions that you or your family rely on become unavailable on the NHS?

Would you have enough money to pay the full price for items such as special creams to treat eczema or testing strips to manage diabetes?

This could be the outcome if proposed changes by NHS England are given the go-ahead.

The proposals would curb the prescription of items such as silk garments for eczema sufferers, needs for some insulin pens for diabetics, and Amiodarone to treat abnormal heart rhythms.

  • NHS crackdown on silk garment prescriptions


Jasper is three years old and has eczema.

Besides using special creams, he also wears silk vests, leggings and gloves. As well as providing comfort for the little boy, the silks control the scratching which can cause bleeding and secondary infection.

Even though some of the items have to be ordered via the family doctor, they still come under the 'low-priority' NHS prescription list.

Jasper's mum Amanda says the silk clothing isn't a luxury, it's a "life saver" for her son.

The family have a low income and would find it impossible to afford if the NHS prescription was removed.

Dr David Hodges' son is aged six and also has eczema. Like Jasper, he wears silk garments which his father says have made a massive difference in the treatment of the condition.

A GP in Stockton-on-Tees, Dr Hodges sees both sides of the debate – as a doctor and parent.

He says the NHS England recommendations are both "frustrating and inconsistent".

He claims GPs are under constant pressure to reduce prescribing costs, but then have to deal with criticism from upset patients.

As such, any future decisions should be made on a "case-by-case basis".

Image copyright Julia Mackinder
Image caption Julia Mackinder says removing needles could be a false economy

'False economy'

Julia Mackinder from Wimbledon has type 1 diabetes.

This means having to inject insulin a minimum of four times a day, using a fresh needle each time.

Like Amanda and David, Julia's concern is that removing lifesaving items such as needles and testing strips could be a "false economy".

"There's a risk of infection and long-term damage which would cost the NHS long-term to treat," she says.

Image copyright Gary Robertson
Image caption Gary says that the medication has given him his life back

'I was barely able to get up the stairs'

Gary Robertson from York has fast atrial fibrillation and takes Amiodorone which is also on the list of prospective treatments to no long receive routine prescription.

Amiodorone has been described as a drug of last resort and is only given to people with very severe or life-threatening symptoms.

However, Gary feels the medication has given him his life back and and is concerned about the impact if it was removed from prescription.

"At one time, I was barely able to get up the stairs, was unable to work and was very reliant on my partner," says Gary, a software developer. "I now run my own business and live a normal life".

By Bernadette McCague, UGC and Social News

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