National consultation on conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care

National consultation on conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care

Following East and North Hertfordshire CCG's recent local consultation on prescription of medicines available over-the-counter (for which you can see the results here), NHS England is running a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns.

Please note this consultation closes on Wednesday 14 March 2018.

Click here to download and read the consultation document.

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.

These 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.

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.

NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to carry out the consultation after CCGs asked for a nationally co-ordinated approach to the development of commissioning guidance in this area to ensure consistency and address unwarranted variation.

The intention is to produce a consistent, national framework for CCGs to use.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the commissioning guidance will need to be taken into account by CCGs in adopting or amending their own local guidance to GPs in primary care.

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

During the consultation period NHS England are also hosting face to face events and a series of webinars (online meetings), to provide further information about the proposed national guidance and to seek your views about the proposals. Please follow the links below to book a place.

Face to face

Webinars (online meetings)


Please click here to give your views on this consultation online.

If you would like further information on this consulation please email: england.medicines@nhs.net

Last modified: 

28 Mar 2018