People in the Black Country can now visit their local pharmacy for seven common health conditions.
The new service, ‘Pharmacy First’, is part of a wider expansion of healthcare services that will empower pharmacists to use more of their skills and give people more choice about their healthcare.
The aim is to make it easier for people to get the help they need and free up millions of GP appointments.
Local pharmacists will now be able to assess and treat patients for a number of minor conditions without the need for a GP appointment or prescription, including:
- sinusitis (adults and children aged 12 years and over)
- sore throat (adults and children aged 5 years and over)
- earache (children and young adults aged 1 to 17 years)
- infected insect bite (adults and children aged 1 year and over)
- impetigo (adults and children aged 1 year and over)
- shingles (adults aged 18 years and over)
- uncomplicated urinary tract infection (women aged 16 to 64 years).
If you have symptoms that suggest you may have one of these conditions, you can walk into a pharmacy and be offered a consultation with the pharmacist. Should the pharmacy team be unable to help, you will be directed to your GP surgery or A&E as appropriate.
The NHS has created a video with a local pharmacist to explain the benefits of the new Pharmacy First scheme to patients. You can watch the video on YouTube here.
Sarb Basi, Director of Primary Care for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “The new Pharmacy First scheme will enable community pharmacists to supply prescription-only medicines, where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions which would previously have required a GP appointment.
“Community pharmacists are highly trained medical professionals who already play a fantastic role in ensuring that thousands of people have their minor ailment needs addressing quickly. The introduction of this new service will make it even quicker and easier for people across the Black Country to access NHS care.
“We strongly encourage people to make full use of this service for convenient, easy access to healthcare advice, support and appropriate treatments from expert pharmacists and their teams.”
The initiative is part of the NHS primary care access recovery plan, a commitment to ease healthcare access for millions. It is also hoped that the service will be expanded to include more conditions in the future.