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Featured Thursday, Sep 20 2018

On-line discussion forums for residents following change in prescribing policy

Would you like to discuss the recent change in GPs prescribing over the counter (OTC) medicines for short term conditions or minor aliments with your local NHS?
If so, commissioners from 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 here to register and take part.
The start of this month (1/9) saw a change to the CCG’s prescribing policy with GP surgeries across East Berkshire no longer prescribing a range of 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.

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 are no longer being 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
Tim Langran, the CCG’s Lead Prescribing Support Pharmacist, said: “We have amended our prescribing policy to reflect the recommended changes nationally.
“While we do not envisage the change to affect the vast majority, there will be some patients who are currently able to get these medicines on NHS prescription from their GP surgery, who will no longer be able to. Instead, they will need to buy the medicines themselves. Community Pharmacies are an accessible source of excellent advice regarding health and medications.
He added: “We acknowledge that some people may have some questions and concerns surrounding this change which is why we would like to invite people to join our on-line discussion forums next week. People can log on from the comfort of their home or join us during their lunch break next Wednesday.”
A set of FAQs have been prepared following the change in prescribing policy.