Medicine Optimisation

Self Care Awareness

In line with the NHSE guidance on Self Care and Over-The-Counter (OTC) products, NHS SWL does not recommend the prescribing of a number of medicines for self care and self limiting conditions except in certain defined clinical circumstances when appropriate. SWL spent approximately £6 million between Sep 2021 and Aug 2022 on prescribed medicines that could have been bought over the counter. 

Minor conditions for which routine prescribing is not supported

Patients should be buy items for the following conditions even if they are exempt from prescription charges. 

  • Acute sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Cough, cold, nasal congestion
  • Cradle cap
  • Dandruff
  • Diarrhoea (adults)
  • Dry/sore (tired) eyes
  • Ear wax
  • Excessive sweating
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Head lice
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Infant colic
  • Infrequent cold sores of the lip
  • Infrequent constipation
  • Infrequent migraine
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Mild acne
  • Mild Cystitis
  • Mild dry skin
  • Mild irritant dermatitis
  • Mild to moderate hay fever
  • Minor burns and scolds
  • Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and fever
  • Mouth ulcer
  • Nappy rash
  • Oral thrush
  • Prevention of tooth decay
  • Probiotics
  • Ringworm and athletes foot
  • Teething and mild toothache
  • Threadworm
  • Travel sickness
  • Vitamin and Minerals
  • Warts and Verruca

Medicines like paracetamol, emollients and antihistamines can be purchased from pharmacies and supermarkets which are open late and at weekends. Pharmacists are fully trained healthcare professionals whose expertise on medicines and advice, is available without an appointment.

In recognition of the increase in the cost of living, patients should be reminded that ‘branded’ products, such as those for painkillers and antihistamines are usually more expensive than available generic alternatives. Generics contain the same active ingredient, are cheaper and just as effective as the ‘branded’ version. Help for Households has some further useful information on support with the cost of living. 

NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) 

CPCS was launched by NHS England on the 29 October 2019, to facilitate patients having a same day appointment with their community pharmacist for minor illness or an urgent supply of a regular medicine, improving access to services and providing more convenient treatment closer to patients’ homes.

The service is helping to alleviate pressure on GP appointments and emergency departments, in addition to harnessing the skills and medicines knowledge of pharmacists.

Vitamin D Supplements 

Vitamin D is important for bone health and immunity. It is unique because is it found in some foods and our bodies can also make it when our skin is exposed to sunlight.

Foods such as oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and pilchards contains a lot of vitamin D; egg yolk, meat and milk contain small amounts. Some breakfast cereals, infant formula milk and some yoghurts have added vitamin D.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends people at risk of deficiency should take a 10 microgram vitamin D supplement all year round; those with a higher content of vitamin D are unnecessary and could be harmful in the long run.

Vitamin D supplements are widely available from pharmacies, health food shops and most supermarkets. Some people who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children aged 6 months to 4 years may qualify for Healthy Start vitamins which contain vitamin D. Ask your health visitor about this

Self Care Documents

Our range of self care documents for patients are in the process of being updated. This is to ensure that they meet the accessibility regulations for public sector bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2), which came into force on 23rd September 2018.

New templates, replacing the PowerPoint slides are gradually being introduced. Additionally the documents have different names:

Further Information can be found on the South West London Integrated Care System website