NHS England published new prescribing guidance (29 March 2018) which covers 35 minor, short-term health conditions, which are either ‘self-limiting’ or suitable for ‘self-care’.
Self-care can be described as:
- a self-limiting condition does not require any medical advice or treatment as it will clear up on its own, such as sore throats, coughs, colds and viruses
- a minor illness that is suitable for self-care can be treated with items that can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy. These conditions include, for example, indigestion, mouth ulcers and warts.
The new guidance recommends that medicines that are available over the counter should no longer be routinely prescribed for 35 minor, short-term conditions. Vitamins, minerals and probiotics are also included in the restrictions as items of limited clinical effectiveness.
The NHS has been spending around £136 million a year on prescriptions for medicines that can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket, such as paracetamol. By reducing the amount the NHS spends on over the counter medicines, we can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and mental health problems.
These changes will benefit patients by freeing up valuable GP time and promoting self-care for patients through community pharmacy services. Find your local pharmacy here