Patients urged: please don’t ask for antihistamines on prescription

It’s your NHS – please use it wisely!

That’s the message to people in Kirklees as a campaign seeks to highlight the true cost of providing small quantities of some common medicines on prescription.

NHS Greater Huddersfield and NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) spend around £1.3 million on medicines that are readily available over-the-counter.

This campaign led by NHS Greater Huddersfield and NHS North Kirklees CCGs encourages people to think about using NHS resources more effectively and to purchase small quantities of over-the counter-medicines for short term use from a local pharmacy, shop or supermarket.

The current phase of this campaign focuses on antihistamines and also steroid nasal sprays which are available over the counter – for the treatment of hay fever and related minor illnesses.

By choosing inexpensive in-store brands, patients can buy their medicine for less than half the price the NHS pays when providing them on prescription.

A previous campaign asking people to buy medicines like paracetamol rather than request them on prescription resulted in a decrease in number of items being prescribed and a saving of around £20,000 so far across Kirklees.

Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG and local GP said: “We want to make patients aware of the true cost of drugs to the NHS.  At a time when the NHS is facing huge financial pressures, providing antihistamines on prescription is not an effective use of money”.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Clinical Leader, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local GP added: “Every time a doctor writes a prescription, the NHS incurs additional charges because of dispensing and administrative fees.  If you include the GP’s time, the cost is even higher.

“These common medicines can be bought from a pharmacy or shop for less than half the price the NHS pays when providing them on prescription. For that reason, we’re asking people to make this choice.

“This will help us save money that we can then invest elsewhere to provide care for the patients in Kirklees who need it the most.”

Health advice and information about your nearest pharmacy and opening times is on the NHS website www.nhs.uk

Further information is also available here.

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