West Norfolk health chiefs urge hayfever sufferers to buy medication to save NHS money
Patients in West Norfolk are being urged to help save the NHS money by buying their own anti-hayfever remedies this summer.
Health chiefs in the borough say tens of thousands of pounds could be saved if people who do not require prescription medication went to a pharmacist or shop for treatment instead.
And they claim that figure could rise to as much as £2 million if other common drugs, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, are taken into account.
The new appeal has been issued by the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which was found to be facing a £10 million overspend earlier this year.
The CCG has already outlined its aim to improve people's lifestyles and use of medical services in a move it hopes will save them a further £6 million.
And chairman Dr Paul Williams said: “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.”
The CCG says it spent more than £40,000 last year on anti-histamine drugs, and around £15,000 on nasal sprays, that are available over the counter, plus another £65,000 on products which are only available on 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.”