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Over the counter prescribing guidance for patients

By December 3, 2018No Comments

NHS England recently published its final guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) on the prescribing of over the counter medicines.

In the year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent around £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which can be bought over the counter from a pharmacy or other outlets, such as supermarkets. This includes medicines for coughs and colds, mild to moderate hay fever, warts and verrucas, mild cystitis and a range of other short term conditions and minor health concerns.

The new over the counter prescribing guidance will limit the routine prescribing of products for:

  • A self-limiting condition – which does not require any medical advice or treatment, such as sore throats, coughs and colds
  • A condition that is suitable for self-care – which can be treated with items that can be purchased easily over the counter from a pharmacy or elsewhere, such as indigestion and mouth ulcers.

However in line with national guidance, these changes will not affect the prescribing of over the counter medicines for longer term or more complex conditions, or where minor illnesses are symptomatic or a side effect of something more serious.

To make patients aware of these recent changes, we’ve added a new Over the Counter Prescribing video to our new Envisage Media app.

The video explains to patients that GPs, nurses or pharmacists will generally no longer prescribe over the counter medicines for a range of minor health concerns. Instead, patients are made aware that over the counter medicines should be purchased in their local pharmacy or supermarket.

For more information about using the Envisage waiting room TV system to educate and entertain your patients, please call 0114 243 3896, or email:

If you would like any help adding the Over the Counter Prescribing video to your Envisage system then please visit our dedicated support section, or call 0114 399 0010.