The NHS in Calderdale is urging people to buy their own treatments for a number of minor, short-term conditions so that the £1million spent prescribing these treatments can be used to treat patients with more serious health needs.
A further £10 million worth of treatment time by GPs and Practice Nurses is also devoted to conditions which could be treated using medicines available over-the-counter in pharmacies and supermarkets.
In line with national NHS guidance, Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group has agreed to change its approach to prescribing treatments that are available for people to buy in pharmacies and supermarkets, to help make the best possible use of resources available to the NHS in Calderdale.
GPs and nurses in Calderdale will no longer issue prescriptions for a number of minor, short term conditions. Patients and the public are asked to buy these medicines themselves from a pharmacy, supermarket or local shop.
Dr Nigel Taylor, Governing Body Member of Calderdale CCG and local GP added:
“Encouraging patients to buy their own medicines for minor, short-term, conditions will free up doctors and nurse appointments for more urgent care.
“Speaking to a pharmacist is a really good way of getting health advice and treatment quickly, particularly for illnesses like sore throats and infrequent constipation, which are difficult to live with but do get better on their own.
“This isn’t about taking treatment away from people – we’re pointing to the best places to get the care they need, and making best use of NHS resources.
“A pharmacist will always advise you if they think you need to see a doctor or if an over the counter medicine is not suitable for you.”
Patients with long term conditions requiring a regular supply of these medicines from their GP will continue to receive them on prescription.
Dr Steven Cleasby, Chair of NHS Calderdale CCG and local GP said:
“At a time when the NHS is facing huge financial pressures, providing medicines to treat minor, short term conditions on prescription is not an effective use of money.
“This is supported by members of the public in our area, who told us during a public consultation in 2017 that only effective medicines should be available on prescription, and not to prescribe when medicines can be bought more cheaply over the counter. Reducing prescribing on these treatments will allow us to invest in higher priority areas that have a greater impact on patients.”
For more information on prescribing changes visit https://www.calderdaleccg.nhs.uk/prescribing/. Further information can be found on the CCG website at www.calderdaleccg.nhs.uk. Health advice and information about your nearest pharmacy and opening times can be found at on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk,