The new data from NHS England has revealed that more than 100,000 patients were treated for minor illness by their high street community pharmacists in just one month.
According to new NHS figures, in June, 118,123 people with minor illnesses such as a sore throat or constipation, or those in need of medicine urgently, received a same-day consultation with their local pharmacist after calling NHS 111 or their GP practice – an increase of more than four-fifths (83%) on the number in the same month last year (64,512).
The data comes alongside expanded roles for community pharmacies ahead of winter, announced at the NHS England board meeting today.
“From this week, NHS 111 online can directly refer people to their high street pharmacist for a same-day consultation, rather than patients needing to call the phone line,” said NHS England.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “Our local pharmacies ensure hundreds of thousands of people every week get the support and medication they need and today’s figures show that in just one month, over 100,000 patients have also had consultations with their local pharmacist for minor illnesses – this means patients are getting the care they need quickly but also in a convenient way that can fit in with their busy lives.
“We are committed to making access to NHS services as easy as possible for our patients – from this week, people can be referred for a consultation with their local pharmacy through the touch of a button through NHS 111 online and from tomorrow (7 October), a new pilot will mean people can register for a local GP practice online within minutes.
“It is likely that we will face a busy and challenging winter and while we have already announced plans to boost capacity across our services, I am delighted that hardworking pharmacy teams are playing an even greater role.
“It is vital that the public continue to use the NHS as they normally would if they are unwell so people should continue to use NHS 111 and as ever if it is life-threatening, call 999”.