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Consultation on 'over the counter' products and medicines

Local people are being asked to share their views on proposals to change the national guidance around prescriptions for some ‘over the counter’ products, designed to help family doctors decide how best to deploy precious NHS resources.

NHS England hopes ending routine prescribing for minor, short-term conditions, many of which will cure themselves or cause no long-term effect on health, will free-up up to £136 million to expand other treatments for major conditions such as cancer and mental health problems.

These routine 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.

The consultation does not affect prescribing of items for longer term or more complex conditions, or where minor illnesses are symptomatic or a side effect of something more serious.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “To do the best for our patients and for taxpayers it’s vital the NHS uses its funding well.

“This consultation gives the public the opportunity to help family doctors decide how best to deploy precious NHS resources, freeing-up money from the drugs bill to reinvest in modern treatments for major conditions such as cancer, mental health and emergency care.”

The full consultation document and details of how to respond are available on NHS England’s website. The closing date to respond is 14 March 2018.

Full list of of items and conditions:

  • Probiotics
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Acute Sore Throat
  • Cold Sores
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Coughs and colds and nasal congestion
  • Cradle Cap (Seborrhoeic dermatitis – infants)
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Infant Colic
  • Mild Cystitis
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Dandruff
  • Diarrhoea (Adults)
  • Dry Eyes/Sore (tired) Eyes
  • Earwax
  • Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
  • Head Lice
  • Indigestion and Heartburn
  • Infrequent Constipation
  • Infrequent Migraine
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Mild Acne
  • Mild Dry Skin/Sunburn
  • Mild to Moderate Hay fever/Seasonal Rhinitis
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and/fever. (e.g. aches and sprains, headache, period pain, back pain)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nappy Rash
  • Oral Thrush
  • Prevention of dental caries
  • Ringworm/Athletes foot
  • Teething/Mild toothache
  • Threadworms
  • Travel Sickness
  • Warts and Verrucae