36 conditions no longer treated on NHS after prescriptions crackdown


Prescriptions for a range of ‘over the counter’ remedies are no longer available on the NHS after a crackdown in recent years on unnecessary spending by the service on common ailments. 

Cough syrup, paracetamol, eye drops and sun creams are among the products no longer being routinely prescribed by the NHS.

The proposals to rein in prescriptions for medicines for minor conditions, which the NHS said saves millions of pounds every year, received “broad support” in a public consultation when it was first discussed. 

Some of the products are available for purchase over the counter at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS. NHS England said it spent £22.8 million every year on constipation treatment, £3 million on athlete’s foot and other fungal infections, and £4.5 million on dandruff shampoos.

River View Surgery said: “GPs issued 1.1 billion prescription items at a cost of £9.2 billion in 2015/16. The vast majority were appropriate but many were for medicines, products or treatments that do not require a prescription and can be purchased over the counter from pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, corner shops or other retailers in some cases at a much lower cost than the price paid by the NHS.

Conditions no longer treated by the NHS

According to River View Surgery, these are the conditions affected by the changes which were first introduced in 2022

Acute sore throat

Infrequent cold sores of the lip


Coughs and colds and nasal congestion

Cradle Cap (seborrhoeic dermatitis – infants)


Infant colic

Mild cystitis

Mild irritant dermatitis


Diarrhoea (adults)

Dry eyes/sore (tired) eyes


Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

Head lice

Indigestion and heartburn

Infrequent constipation

Infrequent migraine

Insect bites and sting

Mild acne

Mild dry skin


Sun protection

Mild to moderate hay fever/seasonal rhinitis

Minor burns and scalds

Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and/fever. (e.g. aches and sprains, headache, period pain, back pain)

Mouth ulcers

Nappy rash

Oral thrush

Prevention of dental caries

Ringworm/athlete’s foot

Teething/mild toothache


Travel sickness

Warts and verruca

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