Save time and money by using your local pharmacist or supermarket for everyday medicine

As part of an effort to reduce costs and improve access, the NHS in Dorset is asking people to buy everyday over the counter (OTC) medicine directly from their local pharmacy or supermarket rather than getting it on prescription.

The NHS in Dorset is also asking your GP to stop prescribing medicines for 35 minor conditions and advise people if a treatment for their condition is available over the counter.

It is estimated this could save the local healthcare system around one million pounds this year alone, whilst at the same time potentially freeing up 40,000 hours in general practice and pharmacies enabling more appointments for local people.

There are key benefits to buying over the counter:

Affordability: Over-the-counter medications often cost considerably less than their prescription counterparts

Convenience: Often no appointment is needed, simply visit your usual pharmacy, and discuss your needs with them

Accessibility: There are lots of pharmacies throughout Dorset – find your nearest one via

Peter Cope, Head of Medicines Optimisation with NHS Dorset said “As the local healthcare system continues to face enormous pressure, we need to be sure we are getting the best value for the money we spend whilst at the same time exploring every opportunity to improve access to services.

“Nationally, doctors have been asked to stop prescribing certain medicines which could be bought over the counter, saving money on the product itself and on the time involved in raising the prescription. A good example of this is indigestion remedies which in the last financial year cost the NHS nearly £250,000.

“Buying over the counter medicine can help us save an estimated one million pounds in Dorset over the next year, money that could be better spent helping people get access to the care they require.”

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