Why does NHS Dorset want to reduce prescribing of over-the-counter medicines?

The NHS needs to make difficult choices about where money is spent to get the most benefit for people in Dorset.

NHS Dorset wants for each medicine prescribed to offer the best opportunity for improved health and wellbeing. For the most part prescribing over-the-counter medicines does not achieve this. These changes aim to use our local NHS resources more effectively and make the NHS sustainable in the long-term.

For further information, the NHS has produced a leaflet explaining changes to prescribing of OTC medicines.

Prescribing over the counter medicines

NHS England have produced a list of common conditions which should be managed by purchase of items ‘over the counter’ in a local shop or pharmacy, for example, dry eyes, indigestion and dry skin. Full list of the conditions specified.

NHS Dorset has asked that GP teams no longer prescribe these items. This allows GPs to focus on caring for people who have more complex needs.

NHS Dorset wants people to have the confidence to look after themselves where they can.  This gives people greater control of their health without the need to visit their GP for minor conditions.  The NHS website contains information and advice for a whole range of conditions to help facilitate self-care.

Community pharmacies can offer health advice and supply NHS medicines (including some prescription-only medicines) to treat seven common health conditions in the pharmacy first service:

  • Earache

  • Impetigo

  • Infected insect bite

  • Shingles

  • Sinusitis

  • Sore throat

  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women

Normal prescription charges will apply for prescription only medicines