East Lancashire CCG recently carried out a consultation about the prescribing of medicines for short term minor conditions/ailments.
The CCG received responses from 824 people. There was overwhelming support to stop prescribing products for minor conditions when suitable alternative products are readily available to purchase at low cost from community pharmacies and supermarkets. Respondents recognised that GPs experience significant pressure for appointments and prescriptions and suggested that this approach may help ease these pressures.
A ‘Prescribing for Clinical Need’ policy has been developed as guidance for GPs. At the CCG’s Sustainability Committee, whose members include GP locality leads, the decision was made to support this policy. We believe that this approach may help practices to manage GP workload by helping to reduce unnecessary appointments and prescriptions.
From 1 October 2017, using this guidance, GPs may choose to direct patients to purchase products for minor, self-limiting conditions over the counter rather than issue them on FP10. The ‘Prescribing for Clinical Need’ policy is enclosed for reference and provides a framework for decision making in this context.
In addition to this, clinical members of the CCG have decided not to renew the contract: Pharmacy First Minor Ailment Service (MAS) which expires on 30th September 2017. Analysis of the data shows that the scheme did not address the need that it had been set up to meet and most users of the minor ailment scheme were using it for conditions that could be treated through readily available, low cost, over the counter products.
Community pharmacists have a vital role to play in advising, counselling and helping patients select the most appropriate treatments to manage minor self-limiting conditions. As such practices are advised to direct appropriate patients to the community pharmacist accordingly to support and empower patients to provide self-care, a key priority for CCG.
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Self-care Otc Prescribing Poster (.pdf 32KB)
Self Care Letter to Patients (.doc 27KB)
Prescribing for Need Policy 2017 and FAQs (.docx 547KB)