News from the National Eczema Society

Many people with eczema are finding it difficult to get their preferred emollient – or, in some cases, any emollient – on prescription.

The reasons for this is 

  • GPs are advised, where possible, to prescribe the emollient with the ‘lowest acquisition’ cost from the range of emollients listed in their local formulary. A ‘formulary’ is the list of medicines and other treatments that are available on NHS prescription in a particular area. Formularies vary widely.
  • Sometimes a patient’s prescription is automatically switched to another treatment, usually to a cheaper alternative. This cheaper alternative should be comparable with or better than the original, but sometimes it’s not. This is known as ‘script switching’.
  • In the case of bath emollients, some Clinical Commissioning Groups are recommending that GPs do not prescribe bath emollients partly as a result of the BATHE study.

What can you do about it? 

You should still be able to get sufficient quantities of leave-on emollient on prescription to treat your eczema effectively, even if it’s not your preferred brand. If you’ve been refused emollient on prescription altogether, or the alternative you’ve been prescribed isn’t working well for you, or you haven’t been prescribed enough, please download and print out the information sheet here and show it to your GP or pharmacist. Emollient prescribing guidance for patients and primary care prescribers

If you’ve been prescribed an emollient that doesn’t work effectively for you for washing purposes, please download and print out the information at this link Emollient wash product prescribing guidance for patients and primary care prescribers, and show it to your GP or pharmacist.

You may be interested in taking part in The National Eczema Consultation re emollient wash products or silk garments on NHS prescription. You can find details at this link

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