Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is following new guidance from NHS England that means medicines available over the counter for the treatment of 35 minor, short-term conditions, will no longer routinely be prescribed.
The guidance has been published following a period of national public consultation and recommends that over the counter medicines associated with minor, short-term conditions which get better by themselves, or can be self-treated by the patient, should no longer be available on NHS prescription.
Medicines affected under this guidance include treatments for coughs, colds, dandruff, mild cystitis, nappy rash, warts and verrucae, ear wax, head lice and mild dry skin.
In the year prior to June 2017 the NHS spent approximately £569million on prescription medicines that could have been bought over the counter from a pharmacy or other retail outlet.
Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Clinical Chair of Wiltshire CCG and GP at Market Lavington Surgery explains: “It’s no secret that the NHS nationally is feeling the pressure of delivering healthcare services in the face of increasing patient demand and finite financial resources.”
“In Wiltshire it’s no different, which is why as commissioners it’s important that we spend the money we have available in the most effective way that will benefit the most number of people.”
“The cost of medicines to the NHS is significantly higher than those available to buy over the counter and because all licensed medicines are regulated by the Medicines and Health Regulatory Authority, they really are as good as your GP can prescribe.”
“For this reason we are encouraging people to seek advice from a pharmacist and buy their medicines over the counter where they can.”
There are certain situations where some patients should continue to have these treatments prescribed, including patients prescribed an over the counter medicine for a long-term, or more complex condition, or where a doctor, nurse or pharmacist considers the patient’s wellbeing could be affected due to health, mental health or significant social vulnerability.