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No more drops from the docs

As high pollen counts continue to soar, East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding residents that local GPs won’t usually prescribe medicines for minor health concerns like hay fever, aches and pains, coughs and colds and sunburn.

The ‘No more drops from the docs’ communications campaign, launched this month, is encouraging people to buy medicines for minor health concerns from their local pharmacy, where they can get expert advice from a qualified healthcare professional. Many of the medicines are also available to buy over-the-counter at supermarkets.

There’s no need to make an appointment to see a pharmacist, making it quicker and easier for patients, and helping to free up GP appointments for those who need them. Some of the items used to treat minor, short-term illnesses can be purchased over-the-counter at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS.

Each year the local NHS spends millions of pounds on free prescriptions for medicines for minor health concerns. Curbing routine prescriptions for these concerns, many of which will cure themselves or cause no long-term effect on health, will free up money that could be spent on essential healthcare services that treat more serious conditions.

However, there are exceptions:

  • People with long-term or more complex conditions will continue to get their usual prescriptions
  • Where a GP considers a patient’s ability to self-manage is compromised because of medical, mental health or significant social vulnerability; these patients will continue to receive prescriptions, where clinically appropriate.

Following consultation, East Riding CCG first introduced these changes in 2016 saving £1.6m in 2016/17 and a further £3.8m in 2017/18, all of which were reinvested back into healthcare services.

Dr Anne Jeffreys, Local GP and East Riding of Yorkshire CCG Clinical Chairperson said, “Our NHS services are precious and thanks to local residents over the last few years we have saved millions to put back into local services. We really hope people get behind our current campaign so we can continue to make more efficient use of NHS resources and free up more GP appointments for people who need them most by buying medicines over-the-counter for minor health concerns from your local pharmacy or supermarket, rather than obtaining them on prescription.

“Having home remedies to hand ensures people can self-manage a minor illness or injury. Medicines to keep in stock include pain relief tablets, antiseptic cream, cough remedies and antihistamines.”

Visit www.eastridingofyorkshireccg.nhs.uk for more information and a full list of conditions for which over-the-counter medicines are not routinely prescribed.

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