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More than 95% of West Midlands NHS pharmacies begin treating people for common conditions

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Patients in England can now get treatment for sinusitis, impetigo, UTI and more at their high street pharmacy without needing to see a GP

Almost all community pharmacies in the West Midlands and East Midlands have begun treating people for seven common conditions, as part of the newly launched Pharmacy First scheme.

NHS England on Sunday (4 February) revealed that more than 95 per cent of community pharmacies in the West Midlands (1130) and over 97 per cent in the East Midlands (840) have joined the ground-breaking initiative.

The scheme allows highly trained pharmacists to assess and treat patients for sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women (under the age of 65) without the need for an appointment or prescription.

With this major expansion of pharmacy services, the health service is aiming to free up 10 million GP appointments a year, while making it easier and more convenient for people to access care.

Competing on the launch of Pharmacy First, Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “This is all part of major transformation in the way the NHS delivers care, with the health service determined to giving people more choice in how they can access treatment.”

Lindsey Fairbrother, a pharmacist at the Goodlife Pharmacy in Hatton, Derbyshire, welcomed the new scheme and said the health service will be able to make full use of the pharmacist’s clinical skills.

“This extends how we can help the patient and gives much greater scope for GP reception staff to triage minor ailments to community pharmacy,” she said.

Gemma Hanson from Tutbury who visited the pharmacy for UTI symptoms was very impressed with the service provided by the pharmacist there.

“I was able to go to the pharmacy when it was convenient for me, and there was no wait,” she said.

Pharmacist Emma Anderson at Evans Pharmacies was excited to be able to do a bit more for the people who use the pharmacy.

Clare Boothman of Stone Pharmacy in Staffordshire said they started to offer similar services last year and run appointments every day.

“We are regularly fully booked but still have capacity for walk-in appointments and these are very popular as people have access to a service they value, and which is usually on the same day,” she said.

Muhammad Zaheer, a pharmacist at Shelley’s Pharmacy in Yardley Green Road in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, revealed that they are preparing a second consultation room especially for the new service, which he believes would be very popular with local people.

Julie, a woman from Birmingham with a history of urinary tract infections, who visited Shelley’s Pharmacy said she got her treatment within 10 minutes following consultation with pharmacist Zaheer.

 

Image above: Rahim Rahmani, a Superdrug pharmacist, uses an otoscope to assess a patient’s medical condition, at The Strand, London, as part of the Pharmacy First service. Photo credit: Belinda Jiao/PA Wire 

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