Treating Minor Health Conditions Is Changing

Minor health conditions are conditions that can be treated through self-care.  They are conditions that will:

  • Get better on their own
  • Can be treated without visiting the GP by patients buying over the counter items directly from the local pharmacy

Minor health conditions include:

  • coughs, colds or sore throats
  • cold sores
  • conjunctivitis or dry eyes
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • grazes
  • sprains
  • hay fever
  • head lice
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • infrequent migraines
  • mild cystitis
  • mouth ulcers
  • sunburn
  • stomach ache
  • warts and verruca’s

Effective 29 March 2018, NHS England issued guidance that over the counter items will no longer be routinely prescribed in primary care.  This means that your doctor, or other prescriber, will not routinely prescribe medicines for minor health conditions that can be purchased over the counter.*

Over the counter medicines are best for minor health conditions. These can be bought from pharmacies and local shops without a prescription. They are also often cheaper this way. You can get them without an appointment or seeing a doctor.

In most cases the direct cost of over the counter medicines will be lower than the combined cost to the NHS of a GP consultation, buying, prescribing and then dispensing the medicine.