Minor Ailments Policy – OTC (Over the Counter) Medicines

Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group is recommending that medications available over the counter are not usually prescribed by GPs.


The recommendation is that “your NHS 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.”


In line with Northumberland CCG’s Minor Illness Strategy, this practice does not routinely prescribe medicines for self-limiting minor ailments. This includes, amongst others, medicines such as:

  • Paracetamol
  • Decongestants
  • Ibuprofen
  • Cough mixtures
  • Nappy creams
  • Laxatives
  • Antihistamines
  • Indigestion remedies
  • Vitamins

Every year approximately 57 million GP appointments are made for conditions which could be treated by the pharmacist.


Pharmacists are trained health professionals who can identify, provide advice and self-medication for the treatment of minor conditions. They can also identify more serious conditions which would need to be seen by your GP.


By visiting your pharmacist you could save yourself time as no appointment is needed and many pharmacies are open in the evening and during the weekend.


By visiting the pharmacist:

  1. GP appointments would be more readily available for more serious conditions
  2. And by self-treating minor conditions, more funds would be available for the treatment of life threatening conditions such as cancer


All information provided to your pharmacist is treated with the strictest of confidence