People suffering from chronic skin inflammation such as eczema and psoriasis are suddenly finding their access to medical moisturisers is being restricted or denied, an MP has warned.
David Davies, who has a new role as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, said a lack of knowledge about the debilitating effects of living with a severe dermatological condition has led to rationing of GP prescribed emollients.
The MP for Monmouth revealed he will be campaigning in both England and Wales for better awareness of skin conditions.
“Because eczema is not normally a condition which shortens life, I am concerned it is seen as being less of a priority,” said Mr Davies.
“In reality, those suffering from severe eczema and other chronic skin conditions spend their lives distracted by constant itchiness, pain and the need to medicate multiple times a day.
“It means lack of sleep for younger people is sadly accompanied by bullying and a lack of understanding in schools.”
Allowing adequate access to emollients on prescription is “vital” for sufferers, Mr Davies said, as regular use of medial moisturisers repairs and protects the skin barrier and helps prevent flare-ups.
He added: “I know, through close experience with sufferers, that some people with severe skin conditions have to moisturise many times a day.
“Failure to do so leads to incredible itchiness. This in turn means that people scratch at skin which is already weakened and often comes off, leaving painful, bloody scabs which can easily become infected. Sufferers will then usually end up in hospital.”
Mr Davies said it would appear NHS guidance on the prescription of emollients was being misinterpreted, which has led to a situation where an increasing number of people – who have already been prescribed with emollients for a diagnosed skin condition – are finding their access to medical moisturisers is being restricted or denied.
He was requested a meeting with Health Secretary Matt Hancock on behalf of the National Eczema Society to discuss the issue.
“We need to ensure long-term skin conditions like severe eczema are treated with the priority they deserve and that nothing is done to restrict access to emollients from those who spend their lives suffering from this terrible condition,” said Mr Davies.