NHS England issues final OTC guidance for CCGs

NHS England issues final OTC guidance for CCGs

March 29, 2018

NHS England has today published its final guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) following a public consultation on the prescribing of over the counter (OTC) medicines.

The CCG guidance lists 35 minor health conditions for which it is now recommended that OTC medicines should no longer be routinely prescribed. Vitamins, minerals and probiotics are also included in the restrictions as items of limited clinical effectiveness.

However, the guidance also makes clear that these restrictions do not apply to people with long-term conditions, nor should they be applied to patients who the prescriber considers unable to self-care due to medical, mental health or significant social vulnerability.

The aim of the guidance is to create a consistent, national approach for CCGs to follow when considering restricting the prescribing of OTC medicines.

NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners worked together to produce the guidance for CCGs and will be developing a range of national resources to support local implementation. However, it will be individual CCG boards who determine the timescale for their local areas.

PSNC responded to NHS England’s initial consultation on the proposals and was pleased to see significant revisions made, including to focus the guidance on prescribing for specific minor illnesses and not to limit the prescribing of medicines for the treatment of long-term conditions.

Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: Guidance for CCGs (issued 29th March 2018)

PSNC Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, said:

“This guidance is a significant step for the NHS to take as it looks to find ways to tackle its affordability challenge. While it is likely to lead to a reduction in prescription volume and the de-commissioning of some minor ailments schemes, it could also present an opportunity for community pharmacy to build on its existing role in educating patients to help them to self-care. Pharmacy teams have been using these skills during the recent Stay Well Pharmacy campaign.

We were pleased to see the significant revisions made to the proposals following the original consultation, but we know there will still be challenges in implementation; we hope the national resources being produced to support the work required at a local level will help to tackle some of these. We also continue to highlight the fact that any transfer of work from GPs is likely to increase workload for community pharmacy.”

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