FINANCE: GPs in seven North East primary care trusts are prescribing paracetamol at twice the expected rate and could save the NHS an estimated £2.5m a year by their bringing reducing to the national average, the healthcare analysis firm CHKS has said.

A statement says: “Paracetamol prescribing is linked to deprivation and age but even when this is taken into account, analysis of rates of prescribing for February 2012 found they are more than twice as high as expected. Subsequent months show a similar pattern and at £3 per paracetamol prescription, the cost of extra prescribing across seven PCTs equates to £2.5m per year.”

CHKS managing director Jason Harries said: “Even when compared with similarly deprived PCTs we have found there is considerable variation and commissioners in the North East England should take note. This variance is something that could save the NHS a significant amount and CHKS has a part to play in highlighting these potential savings.”