Medway CCG is planning to update our guidance for healthcare professionals on prescribing over-the-counter medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns. This is part of a national consultation designed to create a consistent approach across the country.

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. In Medway in the last six months, almost £400,000 has been spent on drugs that could have been purchased over the counter.

By reducing spend on treating conditions that are slef-limiting or which lend themselves to self-care. these resources can be used for other, higher priority areas that have a greater impact for patients, support improvements in services and deliver transformation that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

These prescriptions include items for a condition:

  • That does not last long, that does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;
  • That people can treat themselves – 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.

Or items:

  • That can be purchased over the counter, sometimes at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS
  • For which there is little evidence of clinical effectiveness

Vitamins/minerals and probiotics have also been included in the consultation proposals as items of low clinical effectiveness which are of high cost to the NHS.

Medway CCG wants to update the guidance we have for GPs and other healthcare professionals to be in line with the national approach being developed.

We want to know what patients, clinicians and staff think about the national proposals and whether these should be adopted in Medway. We have developed a survey asking what people in Medway think of the national proposals.

NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners are developing national commissioning guidance to produce a consistent framework for CCGs to use across the country. The proposals have been developed in discussion with GPs, pharmacists and patient groups.

Subject to the outcome of the national consultation, the commissioning guidance will need to be taken into account by CCGs. In Medway, we will decide whether to amend our current guidance.

The aim of this engagement is to provide you with information about the proposed national guidance and to seek your views about the proposals.

Read the national consultation document

Read the National Easy Read consultation guide

Please respond to the Medway survey – click here.

The Medway survey closes on 19th March.

If you wish to contribute to the national consultation this closes on 14th March.