From 1 October 2018, Berkshire West GP practices are no longer routinely prescribing a range of over the counter (OTC) medicines and vitamins associated with minor ailments and short term conditions. This was confirmed at the Berkshire West CCG GP Medicines Optimisation Committee on 26 September 2018. The policy is available on the CCG website.
This follows a national consultation and subsequent NHS England guidance recommending that a range of over the counter medicines, associated with short term conditions and minor ailments, are no longer available on an NHS prescription.
In the year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy and other outlets such as supermarkets.
Medicines which will no longer be routinely prescribed include treatments for colds, coughs, dandruff, mild acne, nappy rash, warts and verrucae, head lice and mild dry skin. A patient leaflet showing the 35 conditions this applies to is available.
The new over the counter medicines guidance will limit the routine prescribing of products that are for:
- A self-limiting condition, which does not require any medical advice or treatment as it will get better on its own, such as sore throats, coughs and colds
- A condition that is suitable for self-care, which can be treated with items that can easily be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy or other outlet, such as indigestion, mouth ulcers and warts and verrucae.
However in line with National guidance, this will not affect prescribing of over the counter items for longer term or more complex conditions or where minor illnesses are symptomatic or a side effect of something more serious.
Patients are also encouraged to have a supply of essential medicines at home so they can quickly treat common conditions and therefore avoid any unnecessary and inconvenient trips to their GP. A list of useful medicines to have at home is available on NHS website.
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