Improving Self-Care on the Wirral

Self-care is about what actions we take to recongise, treat and managing our own health. Self-care is still a big priority both nationally and locally. The NHS Wirral CCG policy, which is in line with national guidance, is available here and aims to reduce the prescribing of medication for minor, short-term conditions, which can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) at community pharmacies. 

With tens of millions of GP consultations, across the UK, used to discuss conditions that can be treated at home, self-care has an important rolw to play in the sustainability of the NHS. Self-care also provides greater flexibility to patients and ensures more appropriate use of valuable GP time.

Over the past few years NHS Wirral CCG have spent nearly £2million, each year, on products that can be bought OTC. 

During self-care week which runs from 16th to 22nd November 2020, NHS Wirral CCG plan to relaunch the self-care policy and focus on two main clinical areas:

  • Winter Health - including coughs, colds, nasal congestion and acute sore throats and
  • Dermatology including mild dry skin, sunburn, warts and veruccaes etc. 

GP Practices will receive an email containing various resources, for example EMIS Web searches, to support you in reducing your OTC spend.

A valuable resource is the self-care forum website at:

You can also access the very recently updated factsheets, including coronavirus information, which are available below:

Enhancing Self-Care Medicines Use – Toolkit

In March 2018, a public consulation led to the publication of guidance for CCGs on the treatment of conditions for which OTC items should no longer be routinely prescribed:

The NHS England national guidance aims to reduce the routine prescribing of products for conditions that;

  • Are, considered to be, self-limiting, and therefore do not need treatment as they will get better own their own accord.
  • Lend themselves to self-care i.e. the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical advice and can simply and effectively manage the condition by purchasing over-the-counter items from their local pharmacy.
  • Can be treated with over-the-counter products in a more cost-effective manner than via an NHS prescription.
  • Have little evidence of clinical effectiveness.

Please refer to the NHS Wirral CCG Self-Care Policy

This is an interactive PDF is an implementation tool which has been developed to aid GPs, pharmacists, other healthcare professionals and supporting organisations to implement the national guidance for conditions that can be treated over the counter.

To navigate, use the arrow buttons on each page or locate a specific section using the tabs and buttons within the document.

  • The tool aims to provide a shared perspective and support for the implementation of NHS England's national self-care agenda and accelerate uptake, enabling commissioners, healthcare professionals and patients to understand and apply national advice.
  • The tool has been designed to guide clinicians and organisations through the decisions that need to be made and provide easy access to a variet of support materials to increase the uptake of selfcare treatments and strategies by patients, enabling improved use of NHS resources.
  • Over-the-counter medicines are those that can be sold by local pharmacies, some but not all can be sold by loccal supermarkets and other shops. We promote the  use of local pharmacies as a wider range of products are available and this is supported by professional advice.
  • Some of the information contained has been gathered from organisations where previous introduction of self-care strategies has gone well to share learning and reduce duplication across the NHS.
  • This tool should be read in conjunction with the national guidance.
  • Any information contained within this tool should be used as a guide and tailored to local practice and patient needs as required. 

January 2020

Letter sent to Wirral Opticians regarding prescribing of medications avaliable to purchase over the counter