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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Vitamin D importance highlighted

The Chief Medical Officer for England has been reported to be contacting healthcare professionals about vitamin D deficiency after recent research found that many healthcare professionals were unaware of current recommendations. According to NHS choices, several newspapers and other news outlets carried this story (BBC).

Current advice (PDF) highlights which groups are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, sources of vitamin D in the diet as well as from skin exposure to sunlight and recommends daily intake levels of vitamin D in those at risk of deficiency.

It also describes access to supplements, via Healthy Start if eligible or the alternatives depending on local arrangements if individuals are not eligible. Healthy Start Vitamins are allowed on NHS prescription.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of these recent reports and current recommendations.

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7 Comments to “Vitamin D importance highlighted”

  1. Healthy Start vitamins are not available on prescription. Pharmacists should liaise with their PCT to find out local arrangements. PCTs are required by law to make the vitamins available to those on the Healthy Start scheme. Some PCTs choose to sell (91p for women’s tablets and £1.80 for children’s drops) or provide them free universally. Pharmacists can search local distribution points at http://www.nhs.uk/healthystart - this is updated quarterly.

    Women’s tablets contain folic acid, vitamins C and D
    Children’s drops contain vitamins A, C and D.

    Comment by Rachel Allan — August 7, 2012 #

    1. @Racehl,

      Many thanks for the clarification. For children perhaps Abidec® drops and DaliVit® drops would be reasonable alternatives in areas where the Healthy Start vitamins are not universally available.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — August 7, 2012 #

  2. There is also a new POM Vitamin D3 available! Fultium-D3 800IU caps. This product is both halal and Kosher with an NHS List Price of £3.60 for 30 caps.


    The scandal is evident on page 20 huge variance in what is claimed in unlicensed supplements Vs actual level of Vit D3.

    Healthy Start mostly for those on benefits is most areas.

    Comment by Andy Perrie — February 6, 2012 #

  3. My understanding is that nationally they can only be ordered by organisations with an NHS order number, so hospitals and PCTs, but not pharmacies. In order to supply on FP10 they would have to be able order independently which currently they are not able to. it would be fantastic if they could, but I'm concerned the GPs will start writing FP10s that cannot be cashed.

    Comment by Ruth — February 3, 2012 #

    1. @Ruth,

      A letter from the Chief Medical Officer was circulated via the Central Alert System yesterday. It contains the following paragraph:

      "NHS organisations can choose to sell the vitamins or supply them free of charge to those who are not eligible for Healthy Start, and we encourage this5. Alternatively, vitamin D supplements are available for purchase or can be prescribed for those who are not eligible for the scheme."

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — February 3, 2012 #

  4. You say Healthy Start vitamins are allowed on NHS prescription. Have these then been made available to pharmacies to order in? as our pharmcies cannot currently access them

    Comment by Ruth — February 2, 2012 #

    1. @Ruth,

      It will depend on local arrangements. In some areas Pharmacies can already order and supply the Healthy Start vitamins to people who qualify through receipt of benefits. I would imagine that such pharmacies could also supply against a valid prescription but I don't know for sure.

      Comment by Matthew Robinson — February 3, 2012 #

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