An elderly friend of mine has had b12 injections fairly regularly from her gp although no b12 deficient diagnosis made - just to perk her up. BUT yesterday she was told ~No not any more - its illegal unless a deficiency is diagnosed.

she is distressed - anyone come across this 'illegal' excuse before? what does it mean. after all, b12 is only a vitamin.

13 Replies

  • Hmm, I can see that maybe it has been taken off the list of things for which the gp can use their discretion, but illegal? This smells fishy to me, like the gp is trying to make it seem as sinister as possible.

    I think of b12 as the Madonna vitamin, the ultimate pick-me-up for those who can afford a doctor at their beck and call. (Not to downplay the deficiency angle of course, many are in need of injections, but it is innocuous for those who aren't deficient.) And of course we know how many elderly people are genuinely in need and suffering from lack of it.

    I wonder if your friend would write her MP and/or local health authority and ask about the veracity of this claim.

    She may want to consider self-injecting.

    I despair at the tone-deafness of some nhs staff. What a nonsense. Even if it was true, there is a nicer way to convey this info to an elderly lady.

  • I'll bet pounds to pence that this is something brought about by Dr Chandry (the brain behind B12d,org). He was banned from prescribing B12 injections (or anything else) to treat fatigue.

    So it's not illegal, but the GMC (General Medical Council) class it as 'naughty'.

  • Please explain your remark about Dr Chandy?

  • Really, surely the link I posted is explanation enough?

    The GMC decided that his prescribing of B12 injections for 'tiredness' was naughty and that he wasn't allowed to do it any more.

    I can quite easily see how a GP, knowing about this, might misinterpret the story although I wouldn't agree with them. They should have explained that the General Medical Council had ruled that prescribing B12 injections 'to perk her up' was not allowed.

    In fact I don't agree with the GMC's decision, as there is published research showing that B12 had been used successfully for treating tiredness.

  • I'm well aware of what has happened to Dr Chandy, as I'm in touch with B12D and I live in Co Durham. I asked the question because your remark was phrased in a way that seemed to blame Dr C for the way many GPs are behaving over B12 treatment. I'm relieved you didn't mean it this way, but I wanted to be sure.

    And yes, B12 has been proven a successful treatment for fatigue, symptoms of MS etc. The action against Dr C is, I think, part of a larger picture in which the GMC come down very hard on any doctor who is the subject of complaints by their peers, or associated professions. Dr Chandy was reported by local pharmacists, I believe.

  • would it be possible to get hold of records to find out why she started being given shots? - whilst she may have been told it was to perk her up it may have been something else - wondering if there were blood tests that showed she was a bit low at one point.

    Difficult to see what the grounds could be for saying it was illegal - which implies a legal precedent or statute. People do like to band words around and use scare tactics to pre-empt a protest.

  • Sounds liked a cost cutting exercise to me - target us old folk.... :(


    I found this on Tracey Witty's blog this morning and haven't yet read it properly. It appears to be pulling together the evidence that GP Audits intended to save money are responsible for the current state of affairs. I suspect that these are being embraced enthusiastically by the CCGs in the Five-Year Forward, and Sustainability & Transformation Plans, also designed the save money and in turn make NHS service provision more attractive to profit-motivated operators.

    This may be why an increasing number of people are being cut off despite all the efforts that have gone into raising awareness of B12 deficiency over the past decade.

    The pressure is coming from somewhere.

  • But the amounts involved are so small as to make virtually no difference.

    Suppose all 100,000 PA sufferers in the UK were put on fortnightly jabs. And that each jab costs £25 (mainly administrative fees and salaries). That would cost £62 million a year.

    That's a tiny fraction of the additional £350 million a week the NHS is going to get post-brexit and an immeasurably small fraction of the total NHS budget (0.06%)

  • Indisputably correct! The amount saved is nugatory. But even so the pressure to do this must be coming from somewhere because I cannot believe that so many doctors would do this off their own bats.

  • It is not illegal in the sense that we know illegal i.e. going against the law of the land, but it seems to be illegal as far as doctors know it i.e. going against GMC and NHS dictates. If they cannot give a good enough reason for doing it they could ultimately be struck off. We know the pressures Dr.Chandy was put under. I have PA and belong to B12 deficiency groups and you hear of people with the most awful symptoms having to beg their doctor to have injections more frequently than every 3 months. In fact some are so bad they have no alternative but to inject themselves (very much treated the same as thyroid patients). Some need to every day but their doctors still stick to the three months. A friend of mine who is B12 deficient but does not have PA was told she could only have an injection once a year. It is not expensive but doctors have been told of frightening things overdose can do (which is all lies because you cannot overdose on B12) and doctors have NOT been told of the more frightening and worse things that can happen to a person if they do not get it when they need it. It seems whoever is educating doctors nowadays needs a bit of education themselves.

  • Lilian I think your post should be on then noticeboard of every gp surgery in the land.

  • I'll second that!

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