Many parents have found they are entitled to medication including Calpol for their children, on the NHS. The scheme was carrying on since a decade but was revealed just now when one mother shared her insight on Facebook.

The post by the mom which refers to the NHS Minor Ailments Scheme – has till now been shared more than 100,000 times.

The scheme is offered to those who do not have to pay for their prescriptions – children and those aged over 60, for example.


A local pharmacy participating in the scheme dispenses the drugs free of charge on the NHS, to parents seeking medication for their children. So there’s no need to visit GP.

Its purpose is offering relief to families on lower incomes, as well as giving under-pressure GPs the time to focus on patients with more complex health conditions.


While all children below 16, notwithstanding their socioeconomic background, are entitled to free prescriptions, the scheme was set up to ensure those on lower incomes, still had access to medications such as Calpol, in spite of whether their family could afford to buy it.

Ailments which can be treated include: coughs, colds, headaches and fever, insect bites, eczema, ear ache, diarrhoea and hayfever.

Christine Davidson, from Stornoway, Scotland, wrote on her Facebook page: ‘For all the mammies and daddies – 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.
‘They are not allowed to advertise it, but you can save a small fortune on calpol, piriton, sudocrem, plasters. I wish I had known eight years ago.’

Nonetheless, Mrs Davidson said she wants that parents should not abuse the system.
Disclosing she has faced a battle with cancer, the mother said: ‘I know first hand how stretched the NHS is having sat on a waiting list for cancer treatment for three months, which was dreadful,’ she said.


A minor ailment is basically any common or self-limiting or uncomplicated condition, that can be diagnosed and managed without medical intervention.


The scheme was launched ten years back across the UK with the aim to reduce the burden on GP practices and A&E departments.

A specified set of ailments is covered but the criteria will differ depending on where a person lives, since they are customized to meet local need.

Some schemes are seasonal, covering winter only when more people are likely to suffer coughs and colds, for example.

The NHS states: ‘Medicines are only available via this scheme to those who genuinely need them and would otherwise have to go to visit a GP to obtain a prescription to access them.’

Parents using the scheme get to save around £2.99 for a 100ml bottle of Calpol, £5 for a tub of Sudocrem and £10.79 for a children’s eczema cream.

A guide to the scheme, issued by NHS England, states: ‘The service is aimed at those patients who do not currently self-care or purchase medicines over the counter but who use GP or out-of-hours services when they have a minor ailment.

Meanwhile many health bosses have recommended caution, noting the NHS financial budget is under intense pressure.

Ailments that can be treated under the scheme, are:

Colds                                                                                            Heartburn and indigestion
Conjunctivitis                                                                             Insect bites and stings
Constipation                                                                               Mild eczema and dermatitis
Coughs                                                                                         Mouth ulcers
Diarrhoea                                                                                    Nappy rash
Earache                                                                                        Sore throat
Hayfever                                                                                      Teething
Head lice                                                                                      Threadworm
Headache and fever                                                                   Thrush