Changes to NHS prescriptions in Southwark


Our consultation on proposals to change prescribing guidance for over-the-counter medicines, malaria prevention medicines for travel and selected travel vaccines in Southwark has now closed. 

We carefully considered all the findings and feedback received and our Governing Body has now agreed to implement the proposals. These will come into effect later in autumn 2017.

What are the changes?

The changes mean that GPs will no longer support the routine prescribing of the following products on the NHS:

  • Self-care medications for short term minor illnesses and injuries and health supplements

  • NHS prescriptions for malaria prevention medicines for travel

  • NHS prescriptions for selected travel vaccinations.

Why we are bringing in these changes? 

To promote self-care

Self-care is about avoiding becoming ill, treating common illnesses at home and seeking help when needed.  Over-the-counter medicines affected by these changes can be purchased from your pharmacy or a supermarket. The NHS recommends everyone keeps a well-stocked medicine cabinet with self-care medicines.

To free up doctors' and nurses' time for those most in need

If patients are able to self-manage minor and short term conditions, unnecessary demand on GP time, including out of hours services, will reduce. This will free up clinician time for people who have more complex healthcare needs and who need more active support in managing their health.

To bring us in line with national guidance

Discontinuing malaria prevention medicines on NHS prescription for travel was supported by public health specialists. The changes now bring us in line with national policy. The move to discontinue providing selected travel vaccines has been developed in consultation with public health specialists and will standardise local provision.

To get the best value from the funding we have available

The primary care prescribing budget for Southwark is around £32 million for this year. Taken together, these changes could save the NHS in Southwark around £750,000 a year, which could be invested in front line health care services.

To fit in with wider local plans

These changes are part of Southwark plans within the community-based care workstream of the South East London Sustainability and Transformation Plan, Our Healthier South East London

For background, you can still read the full consultation document and summary document