Each appointment with a GP costs the NHS £45*. At a time when GP appointments are under increasing demand, the local NHS are urging the public to treat minor winter illnesses at home with medicines available from local pharmacies – no prescription or GP appointment required.
Dr Catherine Bennett, local GP in Cambridge and CCG prescribing lead, said “Every day we see patients who could have treated themselves at home with basic medicines or with advice from a pharmacist. Encouraging patients to self care, not only helps to reduce pressure on GPs and save the patient time, it also helps to save the NHS money.”
For example, last year the local NHS spent millions prescribing medicines which patients can easily buy, at a low cost, over the counter at pharmacies, shops, or supermarkets. This included £1.2million on pain relief (paracetamol), £1.1million on treatment for upset stomachs and £295,000 to treat heartburn and indigestion.
Dr Bennet added, “Please think twice before visiting your GP with minor illnesses this winter. Ask yourself is this something I can treat myself? Is there a medication I can buy over the counter?
“Aches and pains, colds and coughs and upset stomachs are generally not a serious health problem for many people, and your local pharmacists have the knowledge and skills to advise you on the best treatment.”
There are also simple steps to help such as stocking up on essentials medicines to help treat minor illnesses at home. Medicine cabinet essentials include:
•pain relief (paracetamol)
•cold and cough remedies
•upset stomach treatment
•heartburn and indigestion treatment
•first aid kit
Pharmacists can also advise on which medicines would be useful to have at home, and what local services are available. Pharmacies can be found in local communities, on the high street and in some supermarkets, with many open late nights and at the weekend. Click HERE to find a pharmacy.
*£45 is the average cost for GP consultation time, cost of the medication, and dispensing fee.