Self-care and Over the Counter Medicines

In 2018 the NHS provided guidance to Healthcare Professionals about the prescribing of Over The Counter (OTC) medication for self-limiting or minor illnesses. The guidance recommends that we should not be providing a prescription to treat these self-limiting and minor illnesses.

As a practice we feel that it is our responsibility to use NHS resources more effectively. This will mean more resources to help improve health outcomes across Devon and ensure sustainability of the NHS in the future.

We realise that this is a big change for you as we will be asking you to buy items from your local Pharmacies or shops. 

When you approach the practice for advice on self-limiting or minor illnesses, we will refer you to your local Pharmacy. The Pharmacy teams are well trained and educated professionals who are there to help you manage your symptoms and improve your health. The teams are well equipped to know when to refer you on to other services should you need this. Did you know that Pharmacists train for a minimum of 5 years just like Doctors?

From 1.8.23 we will be starting to decline to prescribe many items that you may have had on prescription previously. We realise that this will be a big change, especially if you currently get free prescriptions, but the guidance has been around since 2018. We started implementing the changes slowly at that time but then we felt that during the Covid Pandemic this was not a priority. We now feel that the time is right to implement the guidance again.

A lot of OTC products are relatively inexpensive, but it is worth shopping around if you already know what you want to buy.  However, if you are not sure what you need, please seek advice from your Community Pharmacy. You may wish to contact Social Services or Citizens Advice Bureaux if you need financial advice.

We thank you for supporting us in making these changes and for supporting the sustainability of the NHS.

Find your local pharmacy and further information