GPs and pharmacists in Bucks will now no longer give out prescriptions for over-the counter medicines for minor health issues.

The NHS has been spending around £136 million a year on prescriptions for medicines that can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket - like paracetamol, remedies for indigestion or heartburn, allergy treatments, vitamin supplements and cream for dry skin.

Now, following guidance from NHS England, GPs, nurses and pharmacists will now not generally give patients a prescription for minor health concerns.

These include:

  • Pain relief
  • Antiseptic creams
  • Treatments for anti-fungal infectionsacne, mild cystitis, warts and verrucas, scabies, sunburn, travel sickness, nappy rash, hayfever and head lice
  • Eye treatments for conjunctivitis.

Dr Shona Lockie, clinical director for the medicines management team at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Whilst we know that some patients genuinely need these medicines in regular quantities for long term conditions and they will continue to be able to have them prescribed; we want to remind patients that a lot of these medicines are available to buy over the counter from your local pharmacy often at a lower cost than on prescription.

“We hope that we can free up resources which can be used for other, higher priority areas that have a greater impact for patients and help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.”

The NHS hopes that by reducing spend on over-the-counter medicines it can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions and provide more front-line services.

There will be some exceptions to the rule – including for frail or housebound patients, for chronic conditions and where there are safeguarding concerns.

Information about the changes can be found at