Over-the-counter medicines: changes to prescribing

Did you know in 2017-2018 we spent £3.2 million on prescribing over-the-counter medicines in Leeds?

And across England, 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.

To help ensure we make the best use of our budget we have now implemented national guidance (issued by NHS England) and are asking GPs not to routinely prescribe over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor health concerns. Instead we are asking local people to buy over-the-counter medicines from their local pharmacy or supermarket.

We want to assure you that every decision made by your GP will be on a case by case basis and there will be times when they will continue to prescribe over-the-counter medicines where they feel it is appropriate to do so.

Please help the NHS to use resources sensibly.

How can you help your local NHS?

How can you help your local NHS?

Keeping a few useful medicines at home means you can treat common conditions immediately without needing to see a healthcare professional.

These could include:

  • Painkillers to help with pain or discomfort
  • Indigestion medicines, oral rehydration salts and treatments for constipation and diarrhoea
  • Treatments for seasonal conditions like hay fever
  • Sunblock and after sun
  • Basic first aid items (for example plasters or antiseptic cream)

If you have children, make sure you also have products suitable for them. Speak to your local pharmacy team about what medicines to keep at home, where to store them safely and how to use them.

Rather than going to your GP, why not visit your local pharmacy first. The team of health professionals at your local pharmacy can offer help and clinical advice to manage minor health concerns and if your symptoms suggest it’s more serious, they’ll ensure you get the care you need.

More information for patients

More information for healthcare professionals

If you’d like printed leaflets or posters for display please get in touch and we’ll arrange this for you: Leedsccg.comms@nhs.net