Your GP, or other healthcare professional, will generally no longer give you a prescription for over the counter (OTC) medicines for a range of minor health concerns.
OTC medicines are those that are available to buy from your local pharmacy or supermarket.
The reason for this change is because of national guidance introduced in 2018 to reduce the amount of money the NHS spends on prescriptions for treating minor conditions that usually get better on their own.
As an example, in the year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent around £569 million a year on prescriptions for OTC medicines.
This includes prescriptions for a range of minor health concerns, including:
- Self-limiting conditions (will heal or be cured without treatment)
- Conditions which lend themselves to self-care (don’t usually require medical advice)
- Some vitamins, minerals, or probiotics
Reducing spending on these types of medicines for minor health conditions frees up vital NHS funding which can be used for frontline services and to give priority to treatments for people with more serious health conditions.
It will also have an impact on the number of general practice appointments for conditions which are suitable for Self Care, releasing more appointments for people with long-term and serious health conditions.
Find out more about OTC medicines and Self Care
Prescribing Over the Counter medicines is changing
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Easy Read – Prescribing Over the Counter medicines is changing
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