NHS North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (NCL CCG) is committed to delivering best value to patients by ensuring that we use our resources well. Therefore, to help us to support the cost effective, evidence based use of medicines, NCL CCG no longer supports the routine prescribing of probiotics, vitamins and minerals and medicines that can be bought over the counter for self-limiting, short-term illnesses and minor conditions.

By managing minor health needs through self-care, it will help to ease the pressure on the NHS.

Self-care means looking after yourself in a healthy way, whether it is brushing your teeth, taking medicine when you have hay fever or doing some exercise. Advice from organisations such as the Self Care Forum and NHS.UK is readily available on the internet.

Managing minor health needs through self-care is in line with the NHS England Guidance for CCGs: ‘Conditions for which over the counter medicines should not be routinely prescribed in primary care’.

NCL CCG position statement on the prescribing of medicines available to purchase over the counter for self-limiting and minor health conditions.

Prescribing of over the counter medicines – NHSE (6 pages)
Prescribing of over the counter medicines – NHSE Easy Read
Prescribing of over the counter medicines – NHSE Leaflet to print

Self-care Pharmacy First – Pilot scheme

The NCL CCG boroughs of Camden, Haringey, and Islington are running a pilot scheme called Self-care Pharmacy First for people on low income. The pilot scheme will run from 1st July 2021 to 31st March 2022, although this has now been extended to run until 30th September 2022.

Going forward NCL CCG is looking to roll the scheme out to include the boroughs of Barnet and Enfield. Further details will be added to this page as soon as they are available.

Currently, the pilot scheme is available for socially vulnerable patients in Camden, Haringey, or Islington who are unable to purchase over the counter (OTC) medicines due to low income and so may not be able to afford to self-care.  The aim of the scheme is to provide timely access to supply of medicines for the management of minor health conditions.

The scheme will support GPs with the implementation of the NHS England guidance, make better use of community pharmacies, whilst ensuring that the most deprived sections of the population receive the advice and treatment they need.

The scheme will be provided by a number of community pharmacies in Camden, Haringey, and Islington to patients who are registered with GP practices in these three boroughs. Patients who usually make an appointment to see their GP for minor conditions can instead visit their pharmacy to receive advice and treatment.

Self-care Pharmacy First – patient information leaflet (V3.1)
Self-care Pharmacy First – List of participating community pharmacies in Camden, Haringey, and Islington (updated 29 November 2021)