Prescribing of over the counter medicine is changing

As of Saturday 1 September 2018, GP surgeries across East Berkshire will no longer routinely prescribe a range of over the counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins and minerals associated with short term conditions and minor ailments.

The change follows a national consultation and subsequent NHS England guidance which recommends that OTC medicines associated with minor, short-term conditions, which can either get better by themselves, or can be self-treated by an individual, should no longer be made available on NHS prescription.

East Berkshire CCG’s Quality and Constitutional Standards Committee have approved the change.

During June 2016 and June 2017, the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which could have been purchased OTC from a pharmacy or other outlets such as supermarkets. Between April 2017 and March 2018, GP practices in East Berkshire spent over £3.7 million.

Medicines which will no longer be routinely prescribed include treatments for coughs, colds, dandruff, mild acne, nappy rash, warts and verrucae, ear wax, head lice and mild dry skin.

However, in line with national guidance, the CCG has agreed exceptions, which include:

  • Patients prescribed an over the counter medicine for a long term or more complex condition or
  • Where a clinician considers that a patient’s wellbeing could be affected due to health, mental health or significant social vulnerability

Should anyone have any questions or concerns regarding the change, which are not answered in our FAQs they can speak to their local pharmacist in the first instance.

Furthermore, residents are also being reminded that free advice on how to stay well and improve the symptoms of minor aliments can be found by visiting


Frequently Asked Questions


List of products, associated with minor ailments, that will no longer be prescribed


Over the counter medicines leaflet


How to manage your conditions and help the NHS infographic


How to manage your conditions and help the NHS infographic - URDU


List of conditions - URDU


How to manage your conditions and help the NHS infographic - Punjabi


List of conditions - Punjabi

East Berks A4 NHS Infographic 4

Cover It Live Session

NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are holding two on-line discussion forums on Wednesday 26 September between 12-1pm and 7pm-8pm. The forums are an opportunity for residents across Slough, Windsor, Ascot, Bracknell and Maidenhead to ask questions and discuss their views with a lead clinician. Click below to register and take part.

Afternoon session - 12:00-13:00

Live Blog Over The Counter Medicines - Change in Policy

Evening session - 19:00-20:00

Live Blog Over The Counter Medicines - Change in Policy