Press releases

Share your views on proposals to restrict over the counter medicines on prescription for minor illnesses

NHS Nottingham City CCG has launched an engagement exercise to get people’s views about whether over the counter medicines should be on prescription for minor illnesses.

We are proposing that patients with minor illnesses self care, seek advice and support from pharmacists and buy medicines themselves rather than through GP prescriptions.

People can comment on proposals to initially limit prescriptions for medicines for minor ailments from Monday 2 July to Monday 30 July at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/City-OTC

Minor illnesses are those which can be treated with self-care and over the counter medicines, which are medicines you can buy in a supermarket, shop or pharmacy. A minor ailment might be a cold, headache, sore throat, hay fever etc.

Why are we doing this?

The NHS is facing financial challenges which means we have to review the services we deliver. The Big Health Debate asks patients what they think and ensures the patient voice is heard as we plan services for the future.

As part of this, Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group needs to prioritise how they spend their prescribing budgets.

Following a recent Government consultation, and in line with the subsequent National guidance, the CCG is proposing that patients with minor ailments and/or using medicines and vitamins of low clinical priority are provided with information to self care and purchase medicines over the counter.

This would be done through a new set of GP guidelines that would list a range of conditions which would be better directed to self-care rather than medicines prescribed by the NHS – see the pdfconsultation document.

Some facts and figures

  1. Last year, (2017/18) Nottingham City GPs spent £1,393,513 prescribing over the counter medicines for short term ailments, including £80,814 on paracetamol alone.
  2. Nationally, seven million GP consultations every year are for minor ailments that could be self-treated at home. This takes, on average, one hour per day of GP’s time and costs the NHS £2 billion per year.
  3. Paracetamol can cost as little as 20p per packet in some supermarkets - paracetamol on prescription costs the NHS

The CCG’s patient engagement campaign launched to discuss these issues with local people will run over a four week period from Monday 2 July to Monday 30 July 2018.

Local GP and Chair of Nottingham City CCG, Hugh Porter, says: 
“Despite recent announcements the NHS, both locally and nationally, is facing unprecedented demand and financial challenge. In order to manage services safely and effectively, Nottingham City CCG has to review some services to ensure best value for the resources we have available, in line with Government recommendations.

Providing small quantities of over the counter medicines on prescription for minor and self limiting illness is not the most effective use of our limited funds. In addition when medicines are prescribed, the NHS incurs extra charges through dispensing and administrative fees, and if you include the GP time then the costs are even higher.

Taking paracetamol as a simple example, everyone is aware that it can be bought cheaply and easily at shops, supermarkets and pharmacies, but to provide paracetamol on prescription for minor illnesses costs at least five times the average over the counter cost.

How to have your say:

  • Complete online at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/City-OTC
  • Call: 0115 883 9594 for a printed copy or to complete over the phone
  • pdfJoin us at our events

Published 5 July 2018