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Referring patients to community pharmacies can free up 8.5 million GP appointments, says CCA

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In response to the Treasury’s Autumn Budget Review, the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) says an additional annual funding of £656 million for community pharmacies would enable provision of more services, freeing up 8.5 million appointments in General Practice (GP).

The additional investment would be used across more than 11,000 community pharmacy locations in England to provide more clinical services such as hypertension screening, Discharge Medication Service and administer NHS vaccinations.

These proposed services could support the NHS every year by:

  • Moving 8.5 million appointments out of GP
  • Releasing 2 million bed days a year
  • Identifying the 5.5 million people with undiagnosed high blood pressure
  • Providing 0.5 million Emergency Contraception consultations
  • Administering 10 million vaccinations.

The association has proposed an ambitious long-term plan with £1.9 billion of benefits per year for the NHS, hoping the government will consider the full potential of the sector.

Chief executive of the CCA, Malcolm Harrison, said: “Community pharmacies are ideally placed to support the NHS as we collectively face into the pressures of the Covid backlog. We have described an exciting vision of the future where community pharmacy plays a vital role in the health of local communities.

“By supporting the sector, the benefits to the NHS are returned many times over. We’ve seen during the pandemic how valued community pharmacy is. Now is the time to capitalise on that sentiment and support a new model of community healthcare.

“Investing in accessible healthcare (community pharmacies) will support the government’s efforts to level up across the country.  This is an exciting opportunity, which should allow the NHS to unlock the expertise of pharmacists, like never before.”

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