The Campaign for Milk Prescription Access is an independent voluntary group working to preserve timely, affordable access to specialist milk products for babies with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) or food allergies, as recommended by NICE.
Who are we?
We are a voluntary group of concerned individuals including parents of children with allergies; nutrition and healthcare professionals.
We are not a formal group, nor do we have, or seek, any funding. We are simply united in a resolve to preserve access to specialist products for babies with CMPA/food allergy, as recommended by NICE.
Why do we need a campaign?
A number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) including Croydon, Richmond and others are consulting on (or have already taken the decision to) cease GP prescription provision of specialist infant formulas for babies with CMPA on grounds of cost to the NHS.
To date, proposals seem to indicate (incorrectly) that milk for allergic babies can be found in supermarkets and at the same cost as ordinary baby formula.
Our main concerns are:
- Availability of specialist products: Whilst soya-based formulas can be found more readily, these are not suitable for young infants, nor many babies with multiple food allergies. The required prescription-only hypoallergenic formulas can only be specially ordered through a pharmacist or health provider making them hard to access for parents.
- Excessive financial burden on families of children with allergies: The cost of purchasing this formula directly can be many times the cost of standard infant formula. If carried through to implementation, many parents will be severely affected financially, and perhaps unable to meet the cost of providing adequate nutrition for their child – potentially impacting the child’s overall health.
- Increase in time to diagnosis & treatment: If, as proposed, GPs will no longer be able to prescribe without a specialist’s permission, then babies will suffer due to delayed treatment and waiting lists for allergy specialists, which are long enough already, will be even more overloaded.
- Potential knock-on impact for other CCGs: We are also concerned that the decision by Croydon CCG will set a precedent which many other CCGs will follow, worsening access to appropriate care, and ultimately health outcomes for babies with CMPA.
What is our aim?
To maintain affordable, appropriate access to specialist products for babies with CMPA in the UK. This includes:
Timely diagnosis and support for babies with CMPA and their parents/carers
- Appropriate and adequate access to specialist formula if required
- Affordable provision of treatment and specialist formulas
How will we achieve this?
- Directly representing concerns to CCG decision makers and stakeholders
- Crafting responses to open consultations, and appealing existing decisions.
- Contacting stakeholders including local health care professionals, politicians, patient support groups and the press to enlist support.
- Providing education, support and resources to those at risk under proposed cuts
- Promoting awareness of these prospective changes for those who could potentially be affected through social media, direct contact and media where possible.
- Providing resources for those impacted:
– Clarification of what is being proposed and the potential impact on babies and their families/carers.
– Providing suggested steps to take when campaigning against similar proposals including arguments to use, example letters and responses.
We would also like to liaise with interested professionals and regulated allergy charities in working together to achieve our aims.