Pharmacies to offer drugs for minor conditions – no GP appointment needed

Date: 06/02/2024 | Category: News 2024

Patients in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) will be able to get treatment for seven common conditions at their high street pharmacy from today without needing to see a GP, as part of a major transformation in the way the NHS delivers care.

Of 251 community pharmacies in the BOB area, 244 will be offering the ground-breaking initiative, with the health service making it easier and more convenient for people to access care. A map showing participating pharmacies is available online Pharmacy First Registered Pharmacies in CPTV LPC – Google My Maps

Highly trained pharmacists will be able to assess and treat patients for sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women (under the age of 65) without the need for an appointment or prescription.

By thinking ‘Pharmacy First’, people will find it easier and quicker to get the help they need without having to contact their GP surgery. The new service is part of a wider expansion of healthcare which will empower pharmacists to use more of their skills and give people more choice about their healthcare.

Robert Bradshaw, the Chair of the Thames Valley Local Pharmacy Committee said: “This new service will give the public more choice about where and when they can access help with minor health conditions. However, it is important to ensure that pharmacies are fully supported as patient behaviour changes and more people visit pharmacies as their first port of call for their common healthcare needs.”

It builds on the successful expansion of the contraceptive pill service in December 2023, with 113 pharmacies in the BOB area now offering women the chance to get a supply of oral contraception over the counter from their pharmacy without needing to first see their GP.

In future, the NHS expects almost half a million women a year to receive their contraception from their high street pharmacist.

The major expansion of pharmacy services will give the public more choice in where and how they access care, aiming to free up 10 million GP appointments a year nationally.

The scheme is part of the NHS and government’s primary care access recovery plan, which committed to making accessing healthcare easier for millions of people.