A notice displayed in a local doctors surgery has – perhaps inadvertently – revealed that the Cardiff and Vale NHS Board is paying FOUR TIMES the price for basic pain-killers that is charged over the counter in chemist’s shops or supermarkets .
The admission is made in a poster pinned up in local doctors’ surgeries which says the Cardiff & Vale NHS spent a total of £710,000 just on “prescribed paracetamol” last year.
What may surprise patients reading the poster is that the NHS appears to blame patients – rather than doctors or NHS managers – for incurring that level of cost .
The notice is, in effect, a blunt message to local patients – even those with chronic pain – that they should think twice before asking their GP for painkillers – and that they should go and buy their own tablets, rather than ask doctors to issue prescriptions for them.
The notice goes on to point out that if patients bought their own drugs ‘over-the-counter’ – rather than asking their doctor for them – then the £710,000 that the Cardiff and Vale Board currently spends on paracetamol prescriptions could instead pay for:-
- 28 more Community Nurses
- 182 Hip Replacement operations
- 47 Breast Cancer treatments
- 710 treatments for Alzheimer’s patients
- 740 more cataract operations
The notice bears the formal logo and imprimatur of the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust Board ; however a spokesman in the Board’s Communications Department has told PDN that he was “not aware” of poster and would need to “check with the pharmacy team for an official answer”.
The spokesman said the notice could be to do with the “nationally-negotiated community pharmacy contract” which “means that the NHS pays per item, rather than by the cost.”
One patient however, said the message of the notice amounted to a sort of “moral blackmail” to cover up the Cardiff and Vale NHS Board’s own ineptitude in administering its drugs prescriptions and purchasing system and asked “how many other drugs is the NHS overpaying for?”.