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

NHS England carried out a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for minor, short-term health concerns from December 2017 to March 2018 resulting in guidance for healthcare professionals being published.  Likewise, guidance regarding treatments eligible for NHS prescriptions continues to be updated and can be found on NHS England’s webpage.

NHS England request GPs not to give NHS prescriptions (even to those eligible for ‘free’ prescriptions) for many conditions in the following categories:

  • Conditions which are considered to be self-limitingand so does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;
  • Conditions 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

Conditions (and treatments) affecting patients seen by optometrists include:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Dry Eyes / sore tired eyes
  • Mild to moderate hayfever
  • Lutein and Antioxidants
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Compounds

Please familiarize yourself with the resources available on the LOC website CCG pages in order for you to advise your patients appropriately regarding self-care rather than routinely directing them back to their GP for an NHS prescription.