Reducing prescriptions for over-the counter medicines

NHS England is launching a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns.

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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. The consultation closes on the 14 March 2018.

View the full consultation document here

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