How to take care of yourself this winter

Advice is being given to residents in Tameside and Glossop on how to take care this winter following NHS England’s guidance advising GPs to stop routinely prescribing over the counter medicines for 35 common conditions.


The advice is to first consult a pharmacist, who is an integral part of the health service and the most appropriate first choice for people that need treatment for common conditions such as an acute sore throat, infrequent cold sores of the lip, conjunctivitis, coughs, colds and nasal congestion plus more.


The NHS has to make difficult choices about what it spends taxpayer money on and how much value the taxpayer is getting for that money. Medicines to treat these conditions are available to buy over the counter. Pharmacists can advise patients on self-care and also on which are the lowest cost versions of medicines available.

By reducing the amount the NHS spends on treating these minor health conditions, the NHS can give priority to treatments for patients with more serious conditions such as cancer and mental health problems.


Probiotics, vitamins and minerals sold as food supplements will also no longer be prescribed, because most people can and should get these from eating a healthy, varied and balanced diet.


Some individual patients may still be entitled to be prescribed a medicine for a condition listed in this guidance. The reasons vary for each condition and GPs, nurses or pharmacists will speak to you individually if this affects you.


People are advised to have a supply of essential medicines at home to treat common conditions quickly and avoid any unnecessary and inconvenient trips to the doctor. If you have children make sure you also have products suitable for children. Speak to your pharmacist for advice on what medicines to keep at home, where to store them safely and how to use your medicines. 


One of the major benefits of pharmacies is that no appointment is needed, and a pharmacist will be available for confidential health advice. Your local pharmacy is the best place to go for the treatment of common healthcare conditions, keeping GP services and A&E free to see patients with more serious conditions.


NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group Co-Chair, Dr Asad Ali said: “The NHS belongs to everybody and therefore together we must ensure that its resources are used in the best possible way for all patients.”


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