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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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pharmacists-will-be-encouraged-to-treat-minor-ailments-walesFebruary 4 2015

Interim findings indicate that a pilot pharmacy minor ailments project in Wales “has the potential to improve access to services.”

The Choose Pharmacy service is being piloted in 32 pharmacies. It is already showing several positive outcomes, including improved patient access, better use of pharmacists’ skills and resources, and improved public understanding of support available at their local pharmacy.

Participating in the pilot are 19 pharmacies in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and 13 in the Cwm Taf University health Board area. The scheme started in October 2014, and gives patients access to free treatment for a rage of common ailments from the pharmacy rather than them having to make an appointment to see the GP.

It supports the aims of the Welsh Government’s new national plan for primary care – using the skills and expertise of the wider primary care team GPs have more time to focus on patients with more complex health conditions.

Most of the patients have been referred from GP practices. The report has identified a number of common drivers, including:

•    an established relationship between the GP practice and pharmacy;
•    a good understanding of the service –particularly amongst practice managers and receptionists;
•    the existing operation of a triage system; and
•    stretched capacity to respond to the growing demand for GP consultations.

“While early uptake of the service was lower than expected, and engagement by pharmacists and GP practices has been variable, there are examples of high activity (with respect to consultations) and effective practice in delivering the service. Evidence of outcomes is also emerging,” says the report.

“Common barriers include limited understanding of the service; the experience of referred patients returning to the GP practice because a pharmacist was unavailable to undertake a consultation; and competing priorities for GP’s time.”

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Harnessing the skills and accessibility of pharmacists can help to alleviate pressure on GPs and their teams and reduce demand on hospital care by improving access to quality local health services closer to home.

“This review recognises the Choose Pharmacy service has been set up in such a way that draws on pharmacists’ existing clinical skills and is in keeping with our prudent healthcare agenda. It draws on the vast expertise that already resides within our primary care settings.”

The report makes a number of recommendations for continued action to help secure the success of the pathfinder sites and to maximise the lessons learned for national roll-out:

•    improving awareness and understanding of the service – by patients, the public, GP practices, and wider health care practitioners;
•    ensuring consistency of service availability – especially in pharmacies with a dependency on locums;
•    refining the eCAS pathfinder IT system to make it more user friendly; and
•    developing and implementing new referral pathways, particularly with out of hours services.

A further report will be published later this year going into a more detailed evaluation of the impact the Choose Pharmacy scheme.

Links:

Welsh Government announcement    

Evaluation of the Choose Pharmacy common ailments service    

Summary    

Interim report    

Practice News

July 31 2018 General practices employing pharmacists are citing improved capacity to see patients and workload changes as the main benefits of the scheme.
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