On 20th December, NHS England launched a consultation on guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups as to which over-the-counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care… catchy I know!

The consultation, however dull the title, is really important and it’s therefore important that you and others you work with have your say.

While we can all agree that the NHS spend on prescriptions for medicines that can be purchased over the counter is high and therefore unsustainable (it was approximately £569 million in the year prior to June 2017) there is a concern raised by a number of voluntary sector organisations that these changes will hit those who suffer the most.,  Therefore, if these cuts are made too hastily, the consequences could be that the long-term costs are more than the money saved.

It’s important to note that these proposals won’t affect prescribing of items for chronic (long term) conditions or where minor illnesses are symptomatic or a side effect of something more serious.  However, there is no clear indication of whether these initiatives will impact those who are financially vulnerable.

Therefore, it’s really important that you have a look at the full consultation document which gives further information about the list of 33 minor illnesses.

There will also be a number of national face-to-face engagement events for patients and the general public – we will let you know these dates when they are live but spaces will probably go quickly.  Therefore, do stay tuned to NHS England’s website this month.  There will also be a series of webinars taking place throughout the consultation period which we will keep you advised about.

Do have a read, have a think and respond.