Did you know in the past 12 months NHS Salford CCG spent £1.7 million on prescribing over-the-counter medicines in Salford? And across England, each year the NHS spennds more than £500 million on prescriptions for medicines which can be purchased from a pharmacy and other outlets such as supermarkets.

To help ensure we make the best use of the money we spend, we have now implemented national guidance (issued by NHS England) and are asking GPs not to routinely prescribe over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor health concerns. Instead we are asking local people to buy these medicines from a local pharmacy or supermarket.

We want to assure you that every decision made by your GP will be on a case by case basis and there will be times, having reviewed the guidance, when they will continue to prescribe over-the-counter medicines when they feel the guidelines suggest it is appropriate to do so. An amended minor ailment scheme will also continue to be available from Salford pharmacies.

How can you help your local NHS?

Keeping a few useful medicines at home means you can treat common conditions immediately without needing to go to the pharmacy or contact a healthcare professional.

These could include:

  • Painkillers to help with pain or discomfort
  • Indigestion medicines, oral rehydration salts and treatments for constipation and diarrhoea
  • Treatments for seasonal conditions like 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.

What if my child needs medicines while at school?

Write to the school giving permission for your child to take the medicine.  Guidance from the Department of Education makes it clear that a child can take non-prescription self-care medicines with written permission from a parent or guardian.  It is not necessary for GPs to write to schools to confirm that it is appropriate to administer self-care medicines. Further information is available below.

Rather than going to your GP, who in many cases will not now be able to prescribe any medication why not visit your local pharmacy first. 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.

More information:
  • Patient information leaflet

  • Easy read patient information leaflet
  • Changes to prescribing over-the-counter medicines poster
  • More information for healthcare professionals
  • Poster for GP practices, pharmacies and other community venues
  • Quick reference guide for healthcare profession
  • FAQs OTC Policy
  • Summary of conditions and general exceptions – printable list
  • Medicines in nurseries and schools consent template
  • OTC medicines in nurseries and schools
  • PowerPoint slide for TV screens in GP practices or other venues
  • Non prescribing sheet / flyer that can be printed off for patients
  • NHSE Guidance: Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care
  • OTC Medicines in Care Settings 

If you’d like printed leaflets or posters for display please get in touch and we’ll arrange this for you: salccg.communications@nhs.net