‘Recommendation prescriptions’ in which GPs complete a form recommending over-the-counter treatments have been suggested by the Proprietary Association of Great Britain in its response to the NHS Ten Year Plan.
An estimated £810m a year is wasted on GP appointments for self-treatable conditions, including 5.2 million GP visits every year for blocked noses, 40,000 for dandruff and 20,000 for travel sickness.
PAGB argues the NHS needs to support behaviour change by putting in place formal processes to direct more people to self-care. A recommendation prescription would allow people to leave the surgery with written health advice and information.
A similar scheme has produced positive results in Germany. The German Medicine Manufacturing Association (BAH) found 91% of patients receiving a recommendation prescription purchased the medicines from a pharmacy. Patients remembered their doctor’s recommendation and, on experiencing repeat symptoms, went directly to pharmacists without visiting their GP
Other recommendations include:
- Utilise digital solutions to support and increase self-care
- Introduce recommendation prescriptions for GPs
- Include self-care, and methods of helping people to self-care, as a key requirement in professional training curricula for all healthcare professionals
- Ensure self-care techniques and signposting to appropriate NHS services are included as core components of the health education curricula in England
- Introduce a year-round pharmacy awareness campaign
- Enable community pharmacists to refer to other healthcare professionals, fast-tracked if appropriate
- Give community pharmacists ‘write’ access to patient medical records, so any medication or advice offered can be recorded consistently.
Read the full report at https://www.pagb.co.uk/content/uploads/2019/03/PAGB_Self-Care_White-Paper_v1-0.pdf