DOCTORS will no longer routinely issue a prescription for medicines that patients can buy themselves over the counter for short-term health concern.

Patients will instead be encouraged to visit pharmacies for advice and treatments for common ailments like coughs, hay fever and sunburn, from October 1.

Last year, the NHS in North Yorkshire spent more than £4 million on prescription items that are available over the counter.

“By buying medicines for minor health concerns, rather than obtaining them on prescription, we can make more efficient use of NHS resources and free up more GP appointments,” said Dr Tim Rider, clinical lead for prescribing.