Over the counter medication

The clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Kirklees spend more than £500 million each year to ensure people receive the healthcare they need. We are committed to delivering safe, high quality local health services, but must keep within our budget.

While the two CCGs in Kirklees have received an increase in funding, demand for services and associated costs such as medicines, treatments and the staff needed to provide them have increased too. As a result, there is a gap between the cost of healthcare in Kirklees and the money available to pay for it.

The challenge we now face is how to invest the available budget in ways that most benefits the health of the whole population and represents good value for money.

As part of this work, during 2015/16 we asked you what you thought about people being able to obtain paracetamol, antihistamines and other over-the-counter medication on prescription, and whether these should be available on prescription. You told us:

  • That you were surprised at how much it costs the NHS to prescribe over the counter medication.
  • You didn’t want to stop people being able to obtain them on prescription, as you were concerned about the impact this would have on people who currently get free prescriptions or have long-term conditions.
  • You felt that we should run a campaign to raise awareness of the costs and to encourage people to buy them rather than ask for them on prescription.
  • You felt that we should also be raising awareness with GPs and not just the public.

We developed a campaign to raise awareness of the cost of prescribing over-the-counter medication and to encourage people to buy their own products if they have a short-term minor illness. The campaign was targeted at both the public and GPs, and was launched in June 2016.

To understand what the public thought about over the counter campaign the CCGs worked with Healthwatch Kirklees. A survey was designed to gain feedback from patients about their views on the campaign. The report from this engagement is available here.