Prescribing ‘core skill’ for GPs and vast majority of prescriptions not ‘unnecessary’, says RCGP

The College has responded to comments by Prof Sir Stephen Powis, Medical Director for NHS England, at the NHS Confed Expo on “unnecessary prescriptions”.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
“Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and is a key part of our training. When developing a treatment plan, GPs will take into account a patient’s individual health needs and medical history, as well as clinical guidance. We will then consider the various treatment options, including alternatives to drug therapies, in conversation with the patient about the risks and benefits of each.

“The College would agree that, where safe and possible, reducing prescribing in the long-term is a good aspiration because neither GPs nor patients want medication to be a permanent solution for their health conditions. Particularly if patients are taking multiple medications.

“However, sometimes long-term medication is necessary and, in most cases, where prescriptions have been made, they are necessary, appropriate and of benefit for the patient. It is also vital that access to alternative therapies to medication, where they are appropriate and of most benefit for patients, is good and equal across the country.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.