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15th January 2018

NHS consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) and NHS England have 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.

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.

NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to carry out the consultation after Clinical Commissioning Groups (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

They are keen to hear from as many interested people as possible. You can have your say by:

  • attending an engagement event on Monday 5 March, 2pm – 4pm at The Montague on the Gardens, Red Carnation Hotels, 15 Montague Street, London, WC1B 5BJ. Book your place
  • taking part in a Webinar on Wednesday 21 February, 1pm to 2.30pm. More information.
  • responding to an online consultation. 

NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group is already working on encouraging patients to self-care for minor, short term health concerns and they will be submitting their own response to the NHS England consultation. If you would like your response to inform the CCGs then please contact Catherine Flynn, Head of Engagement and Equalities on tel no:020 3049 4250

The consultation is open until 14 March.



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