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‘Choose Pharmacy’ pilot ‘shows potential’ in improving access to local health services, report finds

A scheme to encourage people to seek advice and free treatment for a range of common illnesses from their pharmacist has the potential to improve access to services, an independent report has shown.

The Choose Pharmacy service – being piloted in 19 pharmacies in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area and 13 pharmacies in the Cwm Taf University Health Board area – enables patients to seek free treatment for a range of common ailments from their local pharmacist instead of making an appointment to see their GP.

The pharmacist can select and supply treatment from a list of medicines covering a defined range of common ailments. They are also able to refer patients to other health services where appropriate.

The interim findings suggest that, as well as being designed and delivered effectively, several positive outcomes are emerging, including:

  • Improved patient access;
  • Better use of pharmacists’ skills and resources;
  • Improved public understanding of support available at their local pharmacy.

Choose Pharmacy 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.

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.

“I am proud that here in Wales we have confidence in the ability of pharmacists to work across communities, in primary care settings and hospitals, using their clinical expertise together with their practical knowledge to carry out the minimum appropriate intervention.”

A further report, to be published later this year, will provide a robust evaluation of the impact the Choose Pharmacy scheme has had.

Related Links

Evaluation of the Choose Pharmacy common ailments service
Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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