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Prescribing initiative by NWL

Reducing prescribing of medicines and products that can be purchased without a prescription


North West London CCGs’ Governing Bodies have approved the approach outlined in this letter to reducing prescribing of medicines and products that can be purchased without a prescription. Clinical judgement should be used when considering whether it is acceptable to ask patients to purchase their medication, e.g. Paracetamol when required for headache can be purchased, and however regular full dose Paracetamol for chronic osteoarthritis may be less suitable for purchase due to the quantities involved.


The General Medical Council’s Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices (2013) includes: “‘Prescribing’ is used to describe many related activities, including …….advising patients on the purchase of over the counter medicines and other remedies…….”


The approach outlined above, is consistent with (legally privileged) legal advice obtained for NWL CCGs.


NWL CCGs envisage aligning their approach with national guidance if and when such guidance is published.

A leaflet for patients about the approach outlined above and a range of relevant posters are available as follows:

Conditions that could be self-managed and items that should not be routinely prescribed in Primary Care

Medicines that can be purchased without a prescription

Ordering repeat prescriptions online

Be in the know about repeat prescription requests

Repeat prescriptions; requesting your repeat prescriptions

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