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Thank you! - Hertfordshire residents buying medicines from their pharmacy save local NHS around £500,000 so far

New figures reveal that over a 12 month period, around £500,000 has been saved by Hertfordshire residents who have bought medicines over the counter instead of getting a prescription from their GP.  

In 2017, Herts Valleys and East and North Herts NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) ran a consultation called ‘Let’s Talk’. One area of this consultation asked for people’s views on a proposal to limit the prescribing of over‐the‐counter medicines that can be bought directly without a prescription from pharmacies and shops.  

The CCGs identified the need to make the best use of the money available to the NHS, so that as many people as possible can be helped to live healthier, longer lives whilst avoiding preventable illnesses.

Since the consultation, the CCGs have worked with GP surgeries to limit the amount of over the counter medicines prescribed and change the advice given to patients, encouraging them to visit their pharmacy directly.

Dr Daniel Carlton-Conway, local St Albans GP and Herts Valleys CCG board lead for primary care and prescribing, said:

“I’d like to thank people in the West Hertfordshire area for helping the NHS reach savings across the county of around £500,000 so far.

“It costs the NHS much more money to provide these types of items on prescription than it actually costs to buy them directly from a shop or pharmacy.  This is because, when prescribed, the NHS pays for the over‐the counter medication plus the cost of a GP consultation and the additional cost of dispensing the medicine.

“Throughout the summer, many people are looking forward to outdoor activities and sunny holidays. They may be thinking about buying medicines to treat hay fever, protect themselves from the sun or to stock up their travel medicine kits. Please remember that it’s so much easier to buy these types of medicines over the counter rather than wait to book a GP appointment – and you are saving some money and resource for our local NHS too.”

To find your local pharmacy, please visit:



About CCGs

NHS East and North Hertfordshire and NHS Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Groups

(CCGs) are the organisations responsible for planning and paying for local health care and

making sure that our residents receive good care.  Like all CCGs, our organisations are led by

local doctors representing the needs of their patients and the views of their GP colleagues,

as well as lay members of the local community.  

Please find out more about the Hertfordshire CCGs by visiting their websites:

East and North Hertfordshire CCG –

Herts Valleys CCG –


Let’s Talk consultation

The Let’s Talk consultation was held across Hertfordshire during the summer of 2017.

For more information, please see the Hertfordshire and west Essex STP website:


Reference for figures on prescribing:

Projected figure for April 2018 – March 2019.



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