NHS proposals July 2017: have your say

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Self-care and over the counter medicines

This survey is now closed, thank you for your feedback. We are reviewing all of the feedback received and further information will be published here soon.

Minor ailments, such as a common cold, cough, headache or upset stomach can be treated with medicines that can be bought over the counter in a pharmacy or supermarket.

Currently, one-fifth of GP appointments are taken up by people who want advice and treatment for a minor ailment, costing the NHS in England about £2 billion a year.

The NHS in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire spends around £10 million a year on medicines that can be bought over the counter.

We want to use NHS funding in the best way to benefit patients. Therefore we are considering asking patients and professionals (GPs and pharmacists) to think about whether a prescription for an over the counter medicine is required.

Many common medicines are cheaper to buy over the counter than the current £8.60 prescription charge.

This does not mean an end to prescribing these medicines. Those who need medicines prescribed will continue to have them prescribed.

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Self-care and over the counter medicines FAQs

Frequently asked questions in relation to self-care and over the counter medicines.

Jargon Buster

Criteria Based Access [CBA] – Where a CCG has published a policy setting out eligibility criteria. If clinicians are content that the patient meets the criteria, they may proceed to treat without seeking funding approval.

Prior Approval [PA] – Where a CCG has published a policy setting out eligibility criteria. Clinicians, where they feel patients meet the criteria, must seek funding approval from the commissioners prior to treating.

Individual Fund Request [IFR] – Where a CCG has published a policy stating that certain treatments are not routinely funded. Treatment will only be funded via agreement from commissioners in exceptional circumstances

Clinical pathway – A systematic way of treating and managing diseases in the NHS. A clinical pathway outlines the way a patient should be cared for through the NHS system from first presentation, followed by testing and diagnosis and through to completion of treatment.