Medicines and Prescribing

The NHS faces a number of big challenges with a growing population and increasing costs. There is a need to change the way we work which includes helping you to help yourself. Supporting people means providing information and encouragement to help you have a better understanding of how to look after yourself, know what to do when you become ill and be able to monitor your health and take the right action.

Helping you to care for yourself can improve your physical and mental wellbeing and change how you use NHS services. With this in mind and following a period of involvement we have implemented a new policy for certain items on prescription.

Based on national evidence and local public feedback, we have made the decision to introduce a number of changes to what patients can now receive on prescription. 

Prescribing the best buy option 
This might mean swapping to a like for like drug choice that is better value for money or to medication in a different formulation (e.g. coated/uncoated tablets, liquid/tablet).

Asking people to buy their items over the counter  
Many items are available at a much lower cost in local pharmacies or supermarkets than they are for the NHS to prescribe.

Click here for more information on why we are asking people to buy over the counter

Reducing waste and improving safety 
Many people get repeat prescriptions that include items they do not need and may even no longer be taking.  We want to work with our population, our GPs and our pharmacists to reduce this waste.

Click here to view our Guide to NHS prescribing changes a patient information leaflet that describes the changes we have made to support our savings plan. 

Click here for more information on our campaign to reduce medicine waste

Why are we taking action to make savings?…
Contrary to what many people might think, the NHS is not free – everyone who pays tax (e.g. Income Tax and VAT) is paying for it.  The NHS has to change so that more can be delivered for less money.  We are working hard to transform services so that they are sustainable well into the future but these changes are very large and take time.  In the meantime, just like NHS organisations up and down the country, we are finding it hard to balance our books. 

We are having to take a long hard look at all areas where we think we can make immediate savings.  This will not be easy, but taking action now will avoid much harder decisions that would affect essential NHS services in the coming years if we do nothing. We need to act now for a better NHS in the future.