OVER 450,000 prospective patients are being urged to contact pharmacists for short term routine medicines as health bosses drive to save up to £4 million.

From October 1, doctors in North Yorkshire will no longer routinely issue prescriptions for medicines that patients can buy themselves over the counter for a range of minor short-term health problems.

The North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which covers over 450,000 people says patients will instead be encouraged to visit their local pharmacy for advice and treatments for common ailments like coughs and colds, aches and pains, hay fever and sunburn.

They say because there’s no need to make an appointment to see a member of a pharmacy team, it will be quicker and easier for patients and free up GP appointment slots for those who need them most.

Some products are actually cheaper over the counter than the cost to the NHS. Over-the-counter treatments for long-term and complex conditions, or where symptom are a side effect of a more serious condition will not be affected.

The NHS in North Yorkshire spent over £4 million on prescriptions for over the counter medicines last year, they're hoping the new approach will help save a large part of that.