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Thursday 27th October 2016

GP services from chemists?

3rd April 2008

Pharmacists could be given a bigger role in treating minor ailments under plans being put forward by government ministers.

They want local chemists to provide diagnosis for some conditions, screen for disease, offer health advice and dispense treatment to help free up GP time for patients with more serious illness.

Other services the government believes chemists may offer include vaccinations, help with giving up smoking, and management of conditions such as asthma and diabetes along with checks for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Chemists currently have the power to offer the morning-after-pill.

While primary care trusts do have the power to make greater use of local pharmacists, there is a wide variation of how much of that happens across England.

The proposals to encourage PCTs to commission more services from pharmacies is outlined in a new White Paper and could save about 57 million GP consultations annually.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “As 99% of the population can get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes, everyone will benefit from more types of treatment available through local pharmacies who can prescribe more, advise more and deal with more.?

Officials from the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain welcomed the news and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said better use of pharmacists could save GPs an hour of consultation time a day.

However, the Primary Care Trust Network was concerned that while involving pharmacies was a good idea in practice, it was not always easy for PCTs to find the funding.


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