A prescribing incentive scheme should be reintroduced in Northern Ireland, GP leaders have claimed.
The Health and Social Care Board has launched the first medicines formulary website for Northern Ireland, however the British Medical Association's NI GP committee claim secondary care prescribing suggestions often don't follow formulary guidelines.
Doctors working in hospital and primary care settings will be expected to use the formulary to ensure they prescribe consistently for the conditions it covers.
Health and Social Care Board head of pharmacy and medicines management Joe Brogan said: ‘The use of medicines has transformed care for patients.
‘The launch of the website will ensure that patients across Northern Ireland receive safe and effective medicines based on best clinical evidence.’
BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee chair Tom Black said: ‘If the board feels that this is a priority area then it would be wise to reintroduce a prescribing incentive scheme, which could be done through GP federations.’
Dr Black said that, in those circumstances, any savings from changes to prescriptions could be reinvested in community services.
‘This is how it was done in the past and it was very effective,’ he added.