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Patient Self Care & Over The Counter Medicines

Over the Counter Medicines

Prescribing of over the counter medicines is changing  

Your GP, nurse or pharmacist will not generally give you a prescription for over the counter medicines for a range of minor health concerns.  Instead, over the counter medicines are available to buy in a pharmacy or supermarket in your local community.

Why is it changing?

The NHS spends £136 million a year on prescriptions for medicines that can be boughtover the counter, such as paracetamol. Reducing the amount the NHS spends on these medicines will mean that more money is available for people with more serious conditions.

How your local pharmacy team can help you?

Pharmacists can give clinical advice and help you choose the most appropriate treatment. If your symptoms suggest it’s more serious, they’ll ensure you get the care you need.

What if my symptoms don’t improve?

Your local pharmacy team can tell you how long to expect the symptoms of your condition to last. If they haven’t improved after this time or you start to feel a lot worse, you should:

• Go back to the pharmacy for further advice • Call NHS111 • Contact your GP

This applies to treatments for the conditions listed below.  Some of which contain links to related patient self care leaflets.


Infrequent Migraines

Vitamins and minerals

Insect bites and stings

Acute sore throat

Mild Acne

Infrequent Cold Sores of the lip

Mild dry skin



Coughs, Colds & Nasal Congestion

Sun protection


Mild to moderate Hay fever/Seasonal rhinitis


Minor burns and scalds

Infant Colic

Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and fever (e.g. aches and sprains, Headaches, period pain, back pain)

Mild cystitis

Mild dermatitis

Mouth Ulcers


Nappy Rash

Diarrhoea - Adults Only 

Oral Thrush

Dry Eyes/sore (tired) eyes

Prevention of dental decay


Ringworm/Athletes Foot

Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

Teething/mild toothache

Head Lice


Indigestion and heartburn

Travel Sickness

Infrequent Constipation

Warts and Verrucas

You can find out more about this change to prescription policy by either:

  • Visiting:

  • Or download one of the NHS Patient Information Leaflets:

Over the counter leaflet

Over the counter leaflet - easy read

  • Or view the NHS Self Care Video

Looking after you and your family How ready are you?

Looking after you and your family How ready are you? - With Subtitles

Patient Self Care Information and Leaflets

Back-pain-information-sheet-for-patients-final.pdf leaflet.

Neck-pain-information-sheet-for-patients-final.pdf leaflet.

Preventing Blood Clots in Hospital leaflet.

Knee Osteoarthritis Exercise leaflet.  

Hip Pain from Osteoarthritis Exercise leaflet.  

Adrenaline auto-injectors - advice on use leaflet.

Fungal Nail Infections leaflet

Temperature and Fever in Children leaflet

Vitamin D Letter & Leaflet.pdf

Vitamin B12 and Folate & Dietary Sources:

Lowering your Cholesterol:

Exercises to manage Pain of Arthritis:

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website