Patients in Cheshire and Merseyside will be able to get treatment for seven common conditions through their high street pharmacy from today, as part of a major transformation in the way the NHS delivers care.
95% of community pharmacies in the region will be offering the ground-breaking new initiative known as Pharmacy First, making it easier and more convenient for people to access care.
Highly trained pharmacists will be able to assess and treat patients for each of the following conditions, without the need for a GP appointment or prescription first:
- sore throat
- infected insect bite
- uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women
The Pharmacy First service will be available to patients on referral by their GP practice, NHS 111, and NHS Walk-in Centres/Urgent Treatment Centres – as well as by contacting their pharmacy directly.
Susanne Lynch, Chief Pharmacist for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “I’m really pleased that the vast majority of pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside have chosen to take part in the Pharmacy First scheme, in order to help deliver improvements in care for patients.
“Community pharmacies are already delivering more than 10,000 patient interventions in a high street pharmacy setting each month in Cheshire and Merseyside, and this service will significantly expand that offer.
“Our pharmacy teams are working hard to build these new services into their daily workload, and we hope that members of the public will take full advantage of the offer as a fast and convenient way to access treatment for these conditions.”
The Pharmacy First service will build on existing patient services for treating minor conditions available in a pharmacy setting, as well as blood pressure testing and oral contraception services which were made available in more community pharmacies from the end of last year.
The scheme is a key part of the government’s primary care access recovery plan, which committed to making accessing healthcare treatment and advice easier for millions of people.
Karen O’Brien, Chief Pharmacist for NHS England, North West added: “Community pharmacy colleagues already play a vital role in keeping local communities healthy and well, and now under this new service they can do even more. Each pharmacy has a private consultation room, highly trained pharmacists and support staff who can see and treat patients, and if appropriate offer medication.
“Although the service launches from today, it will take some time for pharmacies and the public to get used to this new way of working, so I ask that people be patient and support our teams as much as possible.”
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