Prescribing of over the counter medicines is changing
What 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.
In February 2019 we ran a 30 day engagement phase to gather views from local people on proposals to implement NHS England guidance on over the counter medicines in Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale. We received 70 responses from members of the public and results
showed that the majority of people thought that
over the counter medicines should not be routinely
be prescribed for a number of minor health conditions,
with some exceptions (outlined below).
Read about our engagement phase and the findings in the Governing Body report here.
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.
Find details of your local pharmacy on the Our Rochdale website.
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.
Our guide to common childhood illnesses and wellbeing for parents and carers of children from birth and beyond aims to help you understand what to do when your baby or child is ill, how to care for your child at home, when to seek advice from a health visitor or call a doctor and when to use emergency services. You can download a copy here.
The guide is also available as an app for your smartphone. Search ‘HMR Child health’ in your app store for Apple and Android.
Finding more information and support
Patient information leaflet
Easy Read patient information leaflet
One page patient information sheet to support discussions between patients and healthcare professionals.
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 nhs.uk/OTCmedicines