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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 238640, tabled on 29 March 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the variation between Clinical Commissioning Groups of the availability of emollients on prescription.

Answered on

5 April 2019

The Department and NHS England expects clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to take both NHS England and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance into account in formulating local polices, and for prescribers to reflect local policies in their prescribing practice.

In March 2018, CCG guidance was published on conditions for which over the counter items should not be routinely prescribed in primary care. This covers 35 minor conditions, including recommendations on the use of emollients for self-care of mild dry skin. The recommendation in this guidance only applies to those with mild dry skin or mild irritant dermatitis. If CCGs have implemented the guidance as intended, patients with moderate to severe eczema will still be able to receive their emollients on prescription as it is a chronic condition.

NHS England has also recently run a consultation on ‘Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: an update and a consultation on further guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)’. This included proposals around the proscribing of emollient bath and shower preparations (it did not cover all emollients, which come in a range of other formulations).

Variation of prescribing of emollient bath and shower preparations was reviewed and published as part of the consultation undertaken from 28 November 2018 – 28 February 2019. Details of this are available in the consultation document at the following link:

NHS England is currently taking account of all consultation responses and updated CCG guidance is due to be published in the summer of 2019.