Don’t swallow up your NHS

from NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG

Health Chiefs in Cambridgeshire are urging local residents to buy basic medications from pharmacies instead of getting them on prescription.

Last year your local NHS spent over £4 million on prescribing medicines that can be bought easily from local pharmacies or supermarkets. This includes £1.5million on prescribing pain relief (paracetamol), £1.2 million to treat upset stomachs, £550,000 on antihistamines and £320,000 to treat heartburn and indigestion.

All of these medicines can be bought at local pharmacies or supermarkets for less than it costs the NHS to prescribe.

Sati Ubhi, Chief pharmacist said “We want the public to really think before they visit the GP, is this something that I can treat myself? Is there a medication I can buy for this over the counter? A packet of paracetamol can cost as little as 25p for 16 tablets at a pharmacy. But if you go to your GP with your ache or pain and get a prescription, the total cost to your NHS is approximately £45*. We all have a responsibility to look after our own health and look after our NHS.”

This is how much the local NHS spend on medicines and how much they cost patients to buy:

  • Pain relief (paracetamol) – cost to NHS £1.5 million, cost for patient to buy 25p (16 tablets)
  • Upset stomach treatment – cost to NHS £1.2million, cost for patient to buy £1 (six capsules)
  • Antihistamines (hayfever) – cost to NHS £550,000, cost for patient to buy £2.75 (30 tablets)
  • Heartburn and indigestion treatment – cost to NHS £320,000, cost for patient to buy £2 (200ml)
  • Travel sickness treatment – cost to NHS £93,000, cost for patient to buy £2.30 (10 tablets).

Sati Ubhi, Chief pharmacist added “Keeping a selection of essential medications at home can help you treat common conditions at home such as colds, coughs and flu and avoid unnecessary trips to see your doctor.”

Further information on self-care visit

*The £45 the NHS spends on a prescription if you see a GP is made up of the GP consultation time, the cost of the medication, and dispensing fee.

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