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Changes to prescribing in Lewisham


GPs in Lewisham are no longer routinely prescribing ‘self-care’ medicines. This follows new guidance from NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) since November 2017 and more recently, nationally from NHS England.

A list of the medicine groups that are included in the new guidance can be found below. These medicines are treatments for minor illnesses and can be bought over the counter (OTC) from pharmacies - this is known as ‘self-care’. Your local pharmacist can support you to self-care with advice on treatments, minor illnesses and provide advice and assurance. If your problem needs the attention of a GP, your pharmacist is trained to recognise this and will advise you to see your GP.


Dr Marc Rowland, Chair of NHS Lewisham CCG and a local GP said: “We want to help people lead longer, healthier and happier lives. Self-care is about avoiding becoming ill and being empowered to manage minor illnesses. We are encouraging people to self-care to reduce unnecessary demand on GP and practice nurse time. We believe this will free up time for people who have more complex healthcare needs and who need more active support in managing their health.”

For short-term, minor illnesses, patients can access the Pharmacy First scheme directly from their pharmacist. All advice is free and, if you do not normally pay prescription charges, any medicine recommended will be free.


If you have any questions or concerns about the changes to prescribing in Lewisham please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at or telephone 020 3049 3240 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).


GPs in Lewisham will no longer routinely prescribe these self-care medicines:  

·        Acne creams

·        Anti-diarrhoeal medication for short term use (up to 72 hours)

·        Anti-fungal treatment for short term minor illnesses

·        Antiperspirants

·        Cold sore treatment

·        Colic treatment

·        Cough and cold remedies

·        Camouflage creams

·        Ear wax removers

·        Eye drops for short term use and minor illnesses

·        Hay fever treatments

·        Head lice and scabies treatment

·        Herbal and complimentary supplements

·        Homeopathic preparations

·        Indigestion remedies for minor illness or short term use

·        Laxatives for short term use (up to 72 hours)

·        Mouthwashes and mouth ulcer treatment

·        Nappy rash cream

·        Painkillers for short term use

·        Haemorrhoidal (piles) preparations for short term use (5 -7 days)

·        Rubefacients (creams and ointments which increase blood flow to treat pain)

·        Sun creams

·        Threadworm treatment

·        Topical steroids for short term use (up to a week) for bites, stings or mild dermatitis

·        Vitamins (excluding: folic acid (folate), vitamins D and B12)

·        Warts and verruca treatment