29 March 2018

RCGP Welcomes New NHS England Move on Prescriptions for Over-The-Counter Medicines

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Prescription costs are a massive expense for the NHS, and the College has always been supportive of plans to take safe, sensible measures to reduce these costs.

"However, we have previously expressed our concerns about blanket bans being imposed, and GPs losing their freedom to make decisions in the best interests of individual patients, taking into account the unique physical, psychological and social factors affecting their health.

"We are very pleased that NHS England have listened to our concerns and that GPs will retain the ability to use our expert medical judgement and clinical skills to prescribe medicines that are also available to buy over the counter in certain circumstances. It is also welcome that limitations will not affect patients living with longer-term and more complex conditions.

"GPs will continue to encourage patients who can afford to buy medication over the counter to do so, and advocate self-care for many minor, self-limiting conditions for which patients don't often need to seek medical assistance, or obtain prescribed medication."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.