Help us to reduce the cost of prescriptions

In the year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines for minor conditions, which could otherwise be purchased over the counter (OTC) from a pharmacy and/or other outlets such as petrol stations or supermarkets.

The costs to the NHS for many of the items used to treat minor conditions are often higher than the prices for which they can be purchased over the counter as there are hidden costs. For example, a pack of 12 anti-sickness tablets can be purchased for £2.18 from a pharmacy whereas the actual total cost for the NHS is over £35 when you include GP consultation and other administration costs.

Wise use of NHS resources

More cost-effective use of stretched NHS resources allows money to be spent where it is most needed, whilst improving patient outcomes. As an example, every £1m saved on prescriptions for over the counter treatments could fund (approx.)

  • 39 more community nurses
  • 270 more hip replacements
  • 66 more drug treatment courses for breast cancer
  • 1000 more drug treatment courses for Alzheimer's
  • 1040 more cataract operations.

For minor and self-limiting conditions, before you call a GP, please consider talking to your pharamacist. You don't need and appointment and for most minor illnesses it's faster and easier!

Prescribing policy

Northumberland CCG is asking practices not to prescribe treatments for minor and self-limiting conditions if the treatment can be bought over the counter. Please help us by buying medication such as:

  • Paracetamol for pain when used now and again rather than daily
  • Ibuprofen when used for pain now and again rather than daily
  • Antihistamines (Cetirizine and Loratadine) for mild to moderate hay fever
  • Lubricant eye drops for dry eyes/sore tired eyes
  • Antacids for indigestion and heartburn
  • Haemorrhoid creams / ointments and suppositories