Delivering as a CCG

Big Health Debate: impact of changes to over the counter medicine changes (2017)

The three South Nottinghamshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (Nottingham North and East, Nottingham West, and Rushcliffe) undertook a six-week patient and stakeholder engagement (Dec16/Feb17) campaign to ask people whether over the counter medicines should be prescribed for minor ailments, such as a cold, headache, sore throat, hay fever etc.

During the course of the engagement, the CCGs received 403 responses from patients, public and professionals across South Nottinghamshire, and also ran seven public events across the South Nottinghamshire area. Feedback from the public engagement, stakeholders and financial and clinical evidence was collated and the following was agreed by the South Nottinghamshire County CCGs:

  • As part of its self-care strategy, NHS Nottingham North and East, NHS Nottingham West and NHS Rushcliffe recommend people to visit their local pharmacy to purchase medicines and treatments for minor, short term conditions.
  • It is advised that all prescribers, including GPs and non-medical prescribers, prescribe by directing individuals to purchase recommended, readily available, over the counter medicines, treatments and products.

While we know that these changes save the three CCGs on average around £30,000 a month, we didn’t know what the impact on the patients has been.

So, in November 2017, we embarked on a self care roadshow around all our 20 GP Practices. We set up displays in waiting rooms and, along with promoting Winter self care messages, and repeat prescribing habits, we also took the opportunity to talk to patients about the impact of the new Over The Counter medicines recommendations.

What patients told us about the impact

Eighty four per cent of the 168 people we talked to said they hadn’t noticed any difference since the recommendations had changed. Patients were mostly positive about the changes and were pleased with the savings that had been made. You can read the full report here. 

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