Prescribing of over the counter medicines is changing
Your GP, nurse or pharmacist will not generally give you a prescription for over the counter medicines for a range of minor health conditions. Over the counter medicines are available to buy in a pharmacy or supermarket in your local community.
GPs and nurses will also no longer prescribe probiotics and some vitamins and minerals. You can get these from eating a healthy varied and balanced diet or buy them at your pharmacy or supermarket.
Why is this needed?
The local NHS has been spending around £1million a year on prescriptions for medicines that can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket such as paracetamol. By reducing the amount the NHS spends on over the counter medicines we can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions and health problems.
Exceptions to the new rules
You may still be prescribed an over the counter medicine in some circumstances, e.g. the relief of symptoms from a long term condition or if you can not treat yourself due to a mental health problem or vulnerability
How your local pharmacy team can help
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.
What can you do?
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, discomfort and fever
• Indigestion medicines, oral rehydration salts and treatments for constipation and diarrhoea
• Treatments for seasonal conditions like colds and 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.
Please help the NHS to use resources sensibly.
Finding more information and support
• Visit the NHS website nhs.uk for information and advice on treating
minor health concerns
• Find out more about this change to prescription policy at: