Health service leaders are appealing for help in saving more than £100,000 by asking people in West Norfolk to buy cheaper hay fever remedies from shops.
West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group spent £121,332 prescribing nasal sprays and anti-histamines last year when cheaper hay fever treatments can be purchased from pharmacies, shops and supermarkets.
The CCG, which is responsible for purchasing health services from GPs, hospitals and community services, could save a total of £2 million if people purchased over the counter drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen rather than asking for a prescription.
Upwell GP and CCG Chairman Paul Williams is putting out an appeal to people in West Norfolk to buying hay fever remedies over the counter.
He said: “We are asking patients in West Norfolk to support their health services by buying hay fever remedies from their local pharmacist rather than approach their GP for a prescription.
“The majority of people can control hay fever symptoms by using simple drugs available over the counter such as anti-histamine tablets and steroid nasal sprays.
“Your local pharmacist is able to offer advice and guidance on the medication available to best treat these symptoms.
“The CCG has limited resources and spending £2 million on drugs that can bought cheaper over the counter is not the best use of that money.”
Last year the CCG spent £41,247 on prescribing anti-histamines which are available over the counter. Anti-histamine tablets can be purchased from pharmacists, supermarkets and other shops for less than £5.
While nasal sprays, which are also available on the high street for less than £10, cost the CCG £14,425.
Along with the £55,672 spent on those two products the CCG has also paid £65,660 for anti-histamines which can only be issued via a prescription.
Dr Williams, said: “Along with medication, there are other simple actions people can take to treat their symptoms such as putting Vaseline around their nostrils to trap pollen or wearing wraparound sunglasses. Showering or changing your clothes after you have been outside will also help along with dusting with a damp cloth to collect the pollen.
“If your symptoms are getting worse after taking medication from a pharmacy, then go to your GP.”
Picture: Chairman of West Norfolk CCG Dr Paul Williams and Pharmicst Uday Thakrar, who owns Jai’s Chemist in Tuesday Market Place, with the range of hay fever remedies which are available over the counter.