Many common conditions do not need a prescription and they will often get better on their own.  There are medicines that can help with the symptoms and these can be bought cheaply and quickly from pharmacists, supermarkets and local retailers. They are known as ‘over the counter’ medicines and you do not need to have seen a doctor or have a prescription to buy them.  Please see our self care guide to see what symptoms you may be able to manage by visiting a pharmacy rather than your GP.

NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) estimates that GPs could have an extra hour a day to treat more seriously ill patients if they didn’t see as many people with common minor ailments which could be treated instead with over the counter medicines.

They are now urging people to stock up their medicine cabinets for winter with over the counter medicines, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, so they can deal with any minor conditions.  If you visit the GP for a minor condition they may recommend over the counter treatments using a proforma rather than giving you a prescription.

Minor conditions are short lived, simple complaints that are not serious and include:

• coughs, colds, sore throats, headaches
• indigestion as well as constipation and haemorrhoids as well as diarrhoea and vomiting.
• minor pain or discomfort from back pain and strains and sprains
• allergies, insect bites/stings
• acute nasal congestion
• dry skin, rash and sunburn
• acne
• cold sore
• head lice


Common ailments that can be self managed:

Back Pain                                          Cold sores

NHS Choices                                     NHS Choices

Common Cold                                   Constipation

NHS Choices                                     NHS Choices

Conjunctivitis                                     Dysmenorrhoea (Painful Periods) 

NHS Choices                                     NHS Choices

Earache                                             Haemorrhoids

NHS Choices                                     NHS Choices

Hayfever                                            Head Lice

NHS Choices                                     NHS Choices

Headache                                          Heartburn & Indigestion

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Influenza                                            Insect Bites

NHS Choices                                      NHS Choices

Migraine                                             Nasal Congestion

NHS Choices                                      NHS Choices

Nappy Rash                                        Sore Throat

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Sinusitis                                              Sprains & Strains

NHS Choices                                      NHS Choices

Vaginal Thrush                                   Warts and Verrucas

NHS Choices                                      NHS Choices