Melton patients are being urged to have their say on proposals to reduce the number of prescriptions GPs, nurses and pharmacists provide.
An online survey is being taken of views about the proposed changes, which have been out forward by the local NHS to save more than £4 million and which would come into force in October.
GPs would be encouraged by the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland - East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG, Leicester City CCG and West Leicestershire CCG - to reduce the number of prescriptions they provide for medicines and treatments that are already available to buy in a pharmacy or supermarket.
This would result in GPs, nurses and pharmacists not routinely prescribing certain medicines for some minor health concerns.
Patients have until Sunday September 9 to make their comments known
Dr Andy Ker, local GP and clinical vice-chair at East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Patients should familiarise themselves with the changes so that they know what to do and expect if they suffer from minor conditions which can be treated at home by taking medication that they can buy from pharmacies and supermarkets.
“By keeping a few useful medicines at home, common conditions such as sore throats and headaches can be treated immediately.
“Families with children should also keep medicines suitable for them.
“Local pharmacists can provide general advice on what medicines to keep at home, where to store them safely and how to use them.”
The initiative follows national recommendations from NHS England to encourage people to self-care and to reduce the amount of money the NHS spends on medicines which are available to buy for a cheaper cost over the counter.
In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, alone, between April 2017 and March 2018, the NHS spent £4.1m on prescriptions for medicines that can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket.
Dr Ker added: “By saving money on items which are readily available, we can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and mental health problems.”
People with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, or with more complex illnesses, as well as patients on treatments only available on prescription, will not be affected by the changes.
The changes will also not apply to those who have found that over-the-counter products haven’t helped and patients who are unable to treat themselves.
Melton patients are asked to go online to www.eastleicestershireandrutlandccg.nhs.uk to take part in the online survey.
Paper copies of the survey are available at Latham House Medical Practice in Melton and all other GP surgeries in the Melton area.
Helpful information is available on the website before completing the survey.