Minor ailment scheme doesn't provide free Calpol for all

2:00pm Thursday 21st May 2015

content supplied by NHS Choices

"Thousands discover Calpol has been free on NHS 'for years' as mum's Facebook post goes viral," the Daily Mirror reports.

This and other similar headlines were prompted by a post made on the social networking site Facebook. In the post, it was claimed that all medicines for children were available for free on the NHS as part of the minor ailment scheme.

"I was in Boots yesterday buying Calpol and happened to complain to the cashier how expensive it is. She told me, to my amazement, that if you register your details with them under the minor ailments scheme that all medicines for children are free - a scheme that has been going for eight years."

The post went viral, being "shared" and "liked" more than 100,000 times in the space of a few days.

But there are a number of inaccuracies both in the Facebook post and in the media's reporting of the story. 

What is the minor ailment scheme?

The minor ailment scheme is designed to enable people with minor health conditions to access medicines and advice they would otherwise visit their doctor for.

It allows patients to see a qualified health professional at a convenient and accessible location within their community, and means patients do not need to wait for a GP appointment or queue up for a valuable A&E slot with a non-urgent condition.

Childhood ailments that may be treated under the scheme include:

If the patient being treated is exempt from paying prescription charges - because they're under 16 or over 60, for example, or they have a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) - you don't have to pay for the medicine. 

Important points about the minor ailment scheme

There are a number of important points that have not been made clear by the media:

Read more about the services offered by pharmacies and how they can often save you a trip to the GP.

Summary

"Thousands discover Calpol has been free on NHS 'for years' as mum's Facebook post goes viral," the Daily Mirror reports. This and other similar headlines were prompted by a post made on the social networking site Facebook.

Links to Headlines

What's the truth about free NHS Calpol? BBC News, May 21 2015

Thousands discover Calpol has been free on NHS 'for years' as mum's Facebook post goes viral. Daily Mirror, May 20 2015

No need to cough up for Calpol - it's FREE on the NHS: Thousands discover they're entitled to various medications after mother's Facebook post goes viral. Daily Mail, May 20 2015

Calpol for FREE: Hundreds find they're entitled to free medication after mum's social post. Daily Express, May 20 2015

Did you know you can get Calpol for free? Metro, May 20 2015

Useful Links

Further Readings

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC). Minor ailments queries: PSNC and Pharmacy Voice statement. May 19 2015

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