FREE VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION SCHEME
Once again the DHSC has issued a press release before informing practices of a new scheme. This scheme involves supplying at-risk patients with 4 months’ worth of Vitamin D. Please see the full statement from the DHSC below, but in summary the LMC suggest that practices advise their reception/practice team that:
- This is a national scheme, and general practice is not involved.
- The government will send free supplies to people who they identify as higher risk in January 2021. General practices are not involved in identifying which people will be sent the Vitamin D supplements.
- If patients want to take Vitamin D supplements and are not in the higher risk group then national policy is that they should buy it over the counter – it will not be available on an NHS prescription.
“In April this year Public Health England (PHE) re-issued advice on vitamin D supplementation whilst the ‘stay at home’ measures were in place across the UK. As we move into the winter months PHE will again be issuing messaging on the importance of following existing government advice on vitamin D supplementation. It will do this via its usual public facing channels and relevant websites, encouraging everyone to purchase products from supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers.
During Autumn and Winter, everyone is advised to take a supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D a day to support general health, in particular bone and muscle health. PHE is emphasising that this advice is even more important this year. It is likely that many of us have been indoors more than usual this spring and summer, and some people have been shielding, so many of us might not have been making enough vitamin D from sunlight.
There have been some reports that vitamin D potentially reduces the risk of coronavirus. There is currently insufficient evidence to prove that it helps prevent or treat COVID-19. There are trials underway which we will continue to keep under review. In the meantime, PHE continues to advise that everyone should follow the current UK government advice on vitamin D supplementation to help support general health, in particular bone and muscle health.
Tomorrow, we will be announcing that the Department of Health and Social Care will be offering a free winter supply of vitamin D supplements for up to 2.7 million of the most vulnerable people in England. We will offer the vitamin D supplement to people on the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable list and those in residential and nursing care homes to help support general health, in particular bone and muscle health, during these critical winter months. It is important that we support those that were asked to stay indoors more than usual over the spring and summer due to national restrictions and so may not have been able to obtain enough vitamin D from sunlight.
The vitamin D supplement will be delivered directly to people’s homes and care homes free of charge January 2021. The delivery will provide four months’ worth of supplements to last people through the winter. These supplements will be the general vitamin D food supplements that can be purchased in retail outlets such as supermarkets, chemists and health food shops.
We would welcome any communication that encourages those who are not being provide vitamin D to follow PHE advice and purchase vitamin D supplements at the recommended dose (10 micrograms) over this winter period.
If you have any queries, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org”