Millions of patients in England will be able to get prescriptions for seven common conditions, plus more blood pressure checks and the contraceptive pill, directly from pharmacies under proposals to tackle the crisis in GP surgeries.
Those suffering from earache, a sore throat, sinusitis, impetigo, shingles, infected insect bites and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women are set to be prescribed medicine by pharmacists without the need to see a doctor or nurse for the first time.
The reforms are designed to free up 15m GP appointments over the next two years.
The blueprint was broadly welcomed by health leaders, with Thorrun Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England, calling it a “real game-changer” for patients.
But experts said not all pharmacies would be able to offer all or any of the new services, meaning the shake-up could result in frustrated patients being “bumped from pillar to post, only to end up back at the GP”.
There are also concerns that patients may not be able to recognise the seriousness of some conditions, including whether a UTI can be classed as “uncomplicated”.
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Source: The Guardian, 9 May 2023