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Saving NHS Money in Bucks

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Over the counter meds 02

The NHS has been spending around £136 million a year on prescriptions for medicines that can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket like paracetamol, remedies for indigestion or heartburn, allergy treatments, vitamin supplements and cream for dry skin. By reducing the amount the NHS spends on over the counter medicines it can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions and provide more front line services.

Dr Shona Lockie, Clinical Director for the Medicines Management team at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Whilst we know that some patients genuinely need these medicines in regular quantities for long term conditions and they will continue to be able to have them prescribed; we want to remind patients that a lot of these medicines are available to buy over the counter from your local pharmacy often at a lower cost than on prescription.

"We hope that we can free up resources which can be used for other, higher priority areas that have a greater impact for patients and help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS."

There are some exceptions when your GP will prescribe over the counter medicines. A list of these is available here.

There are several things you can do to help look after yourself, such as

  • Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home
  • Find out the best ways to treat the 10 most common ailments like back pain, coughs and colds, mild eczema, heartburn and indigestion
  • Seek advice from your local community pharmacists on:
  • Managing short term illnesses and minor conditions
  • When to seek medical advice
  • What to take if you take other medications.
  • You can see a pharmacist without an appointment, and many pharmacies are open late and at the weekend
  • If your symptoms suggest it's more serious and needs the attention of another healthcare professional such as their GP, the pharmacist will advise you.

Information about the changes can be found here.

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