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Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed by primary care – A consultation on guidance for CCGs

With just under a week to go, NHS England Lancashire and South Cumbria Clinical leads are making a final call for local people to respond to a public consultation which could affect which medicines are available on prescription.

There are a range of treatments readily available and sold ‘over the counter’ in pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, and other retailers, often at a significantly lower price than the cost to the NHS.  This includes medicines for coughs, colds & nasal congestion, indigestion and heartburn, insect bites and stings.

If approved, new guidelines could see a reduction to 33 treatments being routinely prescribed by GPs. The year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions with these saving we could have nationally more operations or drug treatment course for cancer or Alzheimer’s.  NHS England and local Clinical Commissioning Groups are jointly promoting the public consultation.

Dr Kieran Murphy is Medical Director for NHS England, Lancashire and South Cumbria said:  “Local CCGs are spending a significant amount each year on over the counter medicines in primary care across Lancashire and South Cumbria.  We need to have an honest conversation with the public, patients and clinicians on what the NHS should provide in a time when resources are under pressure and we want to ensure patients have access to the treatments they need.

“We need to find funding for new research, operations and highly effective drugs which is why it’s important to make sure your money is spent efficiently.”

Dr Faizan Ahmed, Deputy Medical Director for NHS England Lancashire and South Cumbria added:  “We hope to hear from as many of you as possible and would encourage you to speak to family, friends and colleagues too, so that the final guidance will take into account all  views and support our member CCGs  in prioritising medicines and services.”

The consultation finishes on 14 March. You can feedback by going online to www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/over-the-counter-items-not-routinely-prescribed

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