REMEDY : BNSSG referral pathways

Medicines for Self Care

Checked: 29-01-2018 by Rob.Adams Next Review: 29-01-2019


BNSSG advice on medicines for Self Care 

A fifth of GP appointments are taken up by minor ailments such as coughs, colds and indigestion. Many could be better dealt with in other settings, such as pharmacies or by the individual caring for themselves.

Patients are able to get advice and purchase (often inexpensive) medicines from community pharmacies or supermarkets.

Empowering people to look after all their minor ailments through self-care with appropriate support so that they consult the GP practice when needed will:

 reduce demand on the NHS & ensure that it is used in the most cost effective way.

 improve people’s ability to care for their own and their families’ health and wellbeing with confidence.

 ensure people are better informed when to see a GP and when to see a nurse, pharmacist or other healthcare professional

 prepare the individual to prevent illness as well as self-treat minor ailments




The BNSSG CCG medicines team has developed  Medicines for Self- Care Guidance to support GPs and non-medical prescribers (NMP) in advising patients to self-care for minor ailments (and therefore purchase medicines for themselves), while ensuring that any drugs recommended for purchase are done so within the bounds of their Marketing Authorisation, in terms of the conditions for which they are licensed, age and other patient factors, co-morbidities, drug interactions and duration of use.

Self-Care condition-specific fact sheets to support prescribers in referring patients to a pharmacy to purchase medicines will shortly be available via EMIS/OptimiseRx which will be triggered when prescribers code a consultation for certain conditions where self-care may be appropriate. These leaflets can then be printed and discussed with the patient.

NHS Choices provides information for patients on self-care and keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.

The Self-Care Forum website provides further information about the positive aspects of Self Care within GP Practices including self care fact sheets for patients, link to the RCGP e-learning course on self care and top tips for GP practices.