From the beginning of April 2017 Telford & Wrekin’s NHS clinical commissioners will no longer support the prescribing of medicines that are widely available over-the-counter from community pharmacies, shops and supermarkets.
GPs will be asked not to write prescriptions for a range of treatments that can be bought without a prescription or a GP consultation. They often cost pennies.
The most common conditions GPs see that could be managed by over-the-counter remedies include:
- Back pain
- Strains and pains
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Constipation and haemorrhoids
- Diarrhoea and Vomiting
- Coughs, cold and fever
- Nasal congestion
- Allergies like hay fever
- Minor skin conditions, rashes, insect bites, sunburn
- Cold sores
- Head lice
Dr Jo Leahy, Clinical Chair of Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We want to help educate people that many common conditions can be treated with over-the-counter-medicines from a pharmacy or supermarket. There is no need to see a GP or get a prescription.
“Dealing with minor conditions has now become a major issue for the NHS nationally. The cost of treating minor ailments has risen to around £2 billion and if people with minor ailments used a pharmacy instead of a GP it would free up 57 million GP appointments per year for patients with more serious problems.
“All GPs tend to see patients who really need something from the pharmacy or who have self-limiting conditions that will simply get better without treatment. It’s not true that a remedy prescribed by a GP will be more effective than something bought over-the-counter, and pharmacists are well qualified to advise on the treatment of minor ailments.”
“Most patients are now aware that the NHS is under increasing pressure because of the growing demand. If more people educated themselves about how to treat minor ailments this would help GPs prioritise treatment for those patients who really need their skills.”