Pharmacists across Wales will provide new NHS services for people with minor illnesses, Welsh Labour’s Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
The Choose Pharmacy service will see pharmacists take responsibility for managing a range of minor ailments. People will be able to see their pharmacist for free treatment instead of making an appointment to see their GP.
The scheme will help to free up GP time to deal with people with more complex needs – up to 18% of GPs’ workload and 8% of emergency department consultations are estimated to relate to minor ailments, such as coughs, colds, ear ache, hay fever, conjunctivitis and head lice.
Choose Pharmacy will also see pharmacists undertaking medication reviews when people are discharged from hospital and providing an emergency supply of prescribed medicines at evenings and weekends. These services will also help demand on both out-of-hours GPs and emergency departments.
Community pharmacies in Wales will be fully integrated with GPs and hospitals as part of a £750,000 investment from the Welsh Government’s Efficiency Through Technology Fund. This will:
- Provide community pharmacies in Wales with access to people’s GP record or their Individual Health Record (IHR) with consent, enabling consistent sharing of patient information to deliver seamless and safer patient care.
- Allow community pharmacies to electronically record a consultation with a patient with common ailments, which includes assessing them and selecting and supplying a treatment from a list of medicines. This information is then available to other pharmacies throughout Wales to support clinical care.
- Allow electronic discharge information to be transferred from hospitals to a patient’s nominated community pharmacy and for the pharmacy to undertake an electronic discharge medicines review.
- Allow community pharmacists to provide an out-of-hours service for emergency medicines supply of exiting prescriptions.
Choose Pharmacy supports the aims of the Welsh Labour Government’s national plan for primary care, using the skills and expertise of the wider primary care team, including pharmacists, so GPs have more time to focus on people with more complex health conditions.