Changing the Way We Prescribe in Leeds

Engaging Voices is seeking groups to participate in focus groups on the routine prescription of over the counter medicines, gluten-free foods and branded medicines.

engaging voices logo Engaging Voices is working with the Leeds clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to conduct a city-wide consultation: “Changing the Way We Prescribe in Leeds”. The Leeds CCGs must spend the local health budget as effectively as possible, while minimizing waste and promoting self-care.

This consultation looks at how costs can be saved by not routinely prescribing gluten-free foods, over-the-counter medicines and branded medicines when there are non-branded ones available.  

Focus Groups:

Engaging Voices is looking to do a number of focus groups with protected communities,  including those on a low income; coeliac; disabled; LGBT*Q; undergone gender reassignment; pregnant women; BME; and mental health. We would like to hear from your service users how these proposed changes would affect them.         
  • The focus groups are to be conducted between now and 31May. ·        
  • We are able to pay £10 per focus group attendee to your organization to help cover any costs incurred. We can also pay £5 per completed survey. ·        
  • If you have any service users that are coeliac, we would really like to engage with them as the gluten-free food will be specific to them, but appreciate that you may not know this information.

Anyone in Leeds is welcome to participate in the online survey but Engaging Voices is only able to pay for those that are completed in conjunction with groups participating in the focus groups.

How to get involved?

If your organization or group would like to host a focus group or you would like more information about Engaging Voices and the consultation process, please contact

For more information:

The three Leeds CCGs together spend over £1 billion a year. This helps support the people in Leeds to stay healthy and access the right services. We have a duty to make sure we spend the money wisely and in the most cost effective way. Your thoughts on how we spend it are important.   By reviewing how we spend money we have the chance to look at how we can use it better, to pay for newer treatments and support other services. As newer medicines to treat more complicated medical conditions come onto the market, the overall costs of medicines go up. The higher prices of newer medicines are to pay for years of research that have gone into developing those medicines. While this is happening, a lot of products that in previous years were only available on prescription are becoming much more widely available to buy in high street shops, online, and in supermarkets.  
There are several areas of prescribing where products are now widely available:      
  • Gluten free products
  • Multivitamins and vitamin D
  • Emollients (moisturisers) for minor dry skin conditions
  • Cosmetic products
  • Sunscreen products
  • Branded medicines, where equivalent generic products are available.  

What are we doing to make services more efficient and effective?  

We continually look at the best ways to provide high quality services. By doing this communities in Leeds are benefiting from: 
  •  New models of care that support people to live independent lives, keeping them out of hospital unless medically necessary
  • Improved access to primary care.  

We work with other commissioning groups to look at how services can be developed across the area, including;
  • Cancer services
  • Paediatrics
  • Stroke
  • Urgent & emergency care  
Over the last year we have also encouraged people to buy their own paracetamol for pain relief. We are looking at new models to deliver effective and efficient care in GP practices, to take the pressure off A&E and provide walk-in facilities.  

What are we proposing to change?  
  • To not routinely fund gluten-free foods on a prescription basis  
  • o not routinely fund a range of “over-the-counter” medicines on prescription     
  • To routinely commission the prescribing of non-branded products unless there is a medical reason  

Ultimately, your GP will work with you to make the final decision about your treatment, using official and recommended guidelines. They will take into account your individual circumstances and condition to make an informed decision. This will ensure that you receive the best and most effective care, whilst also helping the NHS to be more effective.

We want an open and genuine conversation with people about the proposed changes to services set out in the coming pages. We want to listen to what you think about our plans.