According to a government review, nearly 12 million people in the UK are being prescribed medicine that can cause dependence. Public Health England (PHE) found that half of these people have been on prescription medicines for a year or more, and more than a fifth for over three years. Prescribing rates are 1.5 times higher for women than for men.
Around 7,000 practices across England have come together to form more than 1,200 Primary Care Networks (PCNs). The news follows the Nuffield report, which showed that falling numbers of GPs were placing a huge strain on NHS services. Since a third of appointments don’t require the attention of a family doctor, the PCNs will comprise multi-disciplinary teams, including pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics and social support workers, who will work alongside GPs.