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42 community pharmacies across Northern Ireland to provide sore throat service this winter

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Patients can access the Pharmacy First service without the need to wait for an appointment

The Department of Health (DoH) Northern Ireland is reminding the public to think Pharmacy First this winter to stay well and reduce demands on other parts of their health service.

Under this new advanced service, a local pharmacy can provide treatment and advice on a range of health conditions including common colds, stomach upsets, ear aches, diarrhoea, head lice, mouth ulcers and thrush.

Pharmacies will also directly provide emergency contraception and advice and treatment for uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) for women aged 16 to 64 years without the need for a GP appointment, the department said.

Further the public are informed that 42 community pharmacies across the country will be providing a sore throat service this winter, involving advice, testing for infection and treatment, if necessary.

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Cathy Harrison said: “Pharmacy First allows patients to access qualified healthcare professionals in the heart of their community without the need to wait for an appointment.

“Community pharmacists can offer advice and treatment options for many common conditions or refer patients on to other healthcare professionals when needed. This relieves pressures on other in-demand care providers such as GPs or Emergency Departments.

“Community pharmacies will increasingly be busier as a result of this expanded range of services and we encourage people to recognise that and be patient when they call into their local pharmacy.”

A patient referred into the service will be provided a confidential consultation in a private area of the pharmacy where your symptoms will be assessed and tests may be offered where appropriate.

You can check the availability of the community pharmacy out of hours rota service on the hscbusiness website.

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Current Issue June 2024

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