John has welcomed the launch of the Government’s Pharmacy First approach, helping patients to receive care more quickly through better use of community pharmacies.
When the initiative was launched at the end of January 246 pharmacies in the Bucks, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West NHS area had signed up to it. This will mean that patients can receive treatment for some common health conditions from their local pharmacy without the need to visit a GP or have a prescription.
John said: “I have always felt that Pharmacists are under used. I am delighted that the Government has launched the Pharmacy First approach so that Pharmacists can use their skills more fully to benefit people. They will be able to treat more people in the community without the need for a GP appointment – speeding up care as well as reducing pressure on local GP services.”
Pharmacists will be able to treat conditions including sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women without the need for patients to see a GP or have a prescription. Following the assessment, the pharmacist can then supply the prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals, to treat the problem.
The Pharmacy First approach builds on the other measures outlined in the Primary Care Recovery Plan in May last year which aims to free up millions of GP appointments and give the public more choice in where and how they access care.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP said: “I’m determined to deliver faster, simpler, fairer access to care for patients, and the expansion of Pharmacy First will mean patients can get treatment for common conditions without needing to see their GP first. This is good news for patients and good news for the NHS. It will free up millions of GP appointments per year and mean that patients can get quick and effective treatment from their local pharmacy. As four in five people live within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, for many seeing their local pharmacist will be the easiest option – so this initiative will have real benefits for patients and help cut NHS waiting lists.”