Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group is the statutory body responsible for commissioning local health services in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan.

Contact us on 01942 482711 or public@wiganboroughccg.nhs.uk


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Stopping prescribing medicines you can buy yourself

What happened:

Between 5th March and 7th April 2019 we spoke to patients, residents and staff about proposals from NHS England that would restrict doctors from prescribing medicines for 37 mild illnesses/conditions.

In the proposed guidance from NHS England they would only stop giving prescriptions for medicines when: 

  • the medicines don't make you better
  • the medicines are for illnesses that will get better by themselves
  • you can easily buy the medicines from a chemist, supermarket or shop


The purpose of our engagement work was to:

  • Understand what people think about the new rules;
  • Understand if people supported the new rules;
  • Understand if the rules would have any negative impacts on individuals or groups,  particularly protected characteristics;
  • Understand if we can do anything to help and support individuals or groups that would be negatively impacted by the rules;
  • Understand the views of health professionals and if they have any concerns about the rules;
  • Understand what help and support health professionals might need to implement the rules.

We got people involved by:

  • Producing an information leaflet and survey in easy read to make it as accessible as possible
  • Distributing the information online and to our contacts and patient groups
  • Posting about it regularly on social media and it was on our website
  • Holding a number of face-to-face activities such as:
    • A Patients Forum workshop
    • Visit to an arthritis support group
    • Visit to the Carers Centre
    • Visit to Higher Folds Community Centre
    • Visit to Higher Ince Community Centre / Maternity Group
  • Producing a separate survey for staff that was distributed via internal contact lists

A copy of the easy read survey can be downloaded below for information:

Downloadable questionnaire

What different did people make?

A copy of the engagement report is available below.



The above report has been shared with Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership (GM HSCP) who are looking to coordinate a joint approach to implementing the new rules across all CCGs in Greater Manchester.

Whilst many people in Wigan Borough were in support of the new guidance, there was concern for some groups who people felt would be disproportionately affected, such as:

  • Deprived – people on benefits or low incomes who won’t be able to afford medicines
  • Frail elderly
  • Children
  • Vulnerable groups such as those with learning disabilities or Dementia
  • People in care homes or housebound
  • Young carers
  • People with safeguarding concerns
  • Homeless
  • Disabled people
  • People who use blister packs

One of our recommendations was for further consideration to be given to how these groups can be supported.

What’s next?

The CCG is working alongside the other CCGs in Greater Manchester on a joint approach to implementing the new rules. We will keep this page up to date when we have more information.

Different formats:

The main information and questionnaire is in large print and easy read.  If you would like help understanding this information, or need it in a different format (braille, for example), please contact us.


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