NHS England has launched a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns.
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.
Some over the counter products currently prescribed are quickly and easily available in community pharmacies where the public can also ask for an NHS consultation with a pharmacist if they are unsure about what treatment they need for minor conditions.
These prescriptions include items for a condition:
- That is considered to be self-limiting and so does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;
- Which lends itself to self-care, i.e. that the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical care but may decide to seek help with symptom relief from a local pharmacy and use an over the counter medicine.
- Vitamins/minerals and probiotics have also been included in the consultation proposals as items of low clinical effectiveness which are of high cost to the NHS.
NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to carry out the consultation after CCGs asked for a nationally co-ordinated approach to the development of commissioning guidance in this area to ensure consistency and address unwarranted variation.
The intention is to produce a consistent, national framework for CCGs to use.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the commissioning guidance will need to be taken into account by CCGs in adopting or amending their own local guidance to GPs in primary care.
The aim of this consultation is to provide you with information about the proposed national guidance and to seek your views about the proposals. To read the consultation document in full, click here.
NHS Southampton City CCG is a consultee and, to help form its response to NHS England, is seeking the views of local people. Please help us by completing our short survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/soccg_prescribinginprimarycare18.