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Hospital prescribing costs rising four times faster than primary care

13 November 2015, GP Online

Hospital prescribing costs rose over four times as fast as primary care costs over the last financial year, official data show, as GP leaders hailed 'great work' by the profession in medicines management.

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMC, said the small primary care increase was testament to GPs' hard work in the face of pressures to drive up prescribing such as an ageing population, expensive new drugs and a rise in multiple long-term conditions.

‘In terms of general practice I think a 3% gross increase shows a lot of really great work done by GPs in medicines management to keep the costs down,’ he said.

‘I think it is always quite hard to give a direct comparison [between primary and hospital care], because quite a lot of the new expensive drugs will be used in hospitals. I also think that in the past there's been quite a lot of cost shifting from hospitals to general practice, but over the last year or two general practice has been much firmer about taking on drugs only once they're established, and not just accepting the cost shifting.’

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Updated on 18 November 2015 928 views