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Home » News and events » News archive » News archive 2018 » Local NHS thanks patients for help with amazing reduction in spend of £1,190,751

Local NHS thanks patients for help with amazing reduction in spend of £1,190,751

Last year patients across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have helped the local NHS save £1,190,751, by purchasing their own non-prescription medication over the counter, instead of getting it on prescription. 
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Following a campaign from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), local residents who get free prescription and GP practices, have helped make this huge saving.

 Many patients who get free prescriptions can get basic items like skin creams, painkillers, antihistamines and nasal sprays on prescription, at no cost to them. But it costs the CCG millions of pounds every year paying for these medications on prescription. Over the last 12 months many patients have helped the CCG by changing the way they get their medication and buying it themselves from pharmacies or supermarkets.

However, there’s still more work to do with £6,722,456 still being spent by the CCG over the last 12 months on non-prescription medication, which can be bought over the counter. As part of Self Care Week (12 - 18 November) the CCG are asking patients again to think whether they can help out and buy these basic medications over the counter, instead of getting them on prescription.

This is the how much the CCG spent last year on prescription medication, which can be bought easily over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket 

  • Upset stomach treatment - £1.1 million 
  • Pain relief (eg paracetamol) - £850,000
  • Heartburn and indigestion treatment - £300,000


Sati Ubhi, Associate Director of Medicines Optimisation, said, “This reduction on how much we spend on non-prescription medication is an amazing achievement, but it’s not just the financial savings which have happened thanks to the support and effort of our patients. Approximately 210,000 fewer prescriptions were issued to patients, meaning that fewer GP appointments were needed, and this in turn improves access to GP appointments for those who really need them. So when you self care, not only are you more in control of your own medication, but it has a much wider impact than just financial help for the NHS and other patients too.

“But there’s still more work to do, so the next time you go to tick the items on your prescription, just stop and think. With paracetamol costing as little as 25p for 16 tablets and upset stomach treatment costing around £2 for six capsules, could you add it to your shopping list and buy your own instead? Every time you buy your own non-prescription medication you are helping your local NHS to save much needed funds and resources, which could be for other patients, or you and your family.”

Those who get free prescriptions include:

  • anyone under the age of 16
  • anyone under the age of 18 (and in full time education)
  • anyone over the age of 60
  • pregnant women and those who have had a baby in the last 12 months
  • anyone receiving child tax credit or working tax credit
  • anyone with a valid medical exemption certificate.