DOCTORS will stop prescribing treatments for conjunctivitis, head lice, haemorrhoids, migraines and other mild conditions in a bid to save money.

Bolton doctor's estimate they could save up to £500,000 by restricting prescriptions and sending patients to buy treatments over the counter instead.

It is also believed this will also help free up doctors' time and workload because patients will not be requesting prescriptions for these items.

Health bosses at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) approved the new policy which is being rolled out across the country.

Chairman of CCG Wirin Bhatiani said he was getting feedback from GPs in Bolton was that this is already happening in many places and the doctors were in favour of the idea.

He said: "They are really keen and it encourages self care.

"They are really behind it."

It is hoped that instead of visiting their GP for mild conditions patients will instead head to their pharmacist for advice and buy their treatment over the counter.

Bolton CCG already has list of conditions it does not routinely prescribe for, including coughs, colds and indigestion. This new policy adds a further 22 conditions to the list including dandruff, mild acne and nappy rash.

Barry Silvert, clinical director integrated commissioning on the CCG, did raise the issue of making sure the practice did not result in patients clogging up the health system because they start going somewhere else for treatment.

He said: "What we don't want is patients going elsewhere, we don't want for them to go to A&E.

"We want to make sure the [hospital] trust is joined up with us and institutes the same policies."

Dr Bhatiani agreed and added he wanted to make sure things did not "break down" at weekends and evenings when the out of hours BARDOC service was caring for patients.

Presenting the report to the CCG was prescribing leading Chris Haigh, who said it was important to remember that there were exemptions to the restrictions which doctors could use their discretion for.

For example, if it was felt a patient would not be able to afford the treatment or if their ability to care for themselves is in some way compromised.