No appointments necessary for those who think Pharmacy First

Recent surveys show that 57 million GP appointments, and up to a third of A&E attendances each year are used by people with common ailments or medicine-related problems.

These are problems which could be dealt with in the community pharmacy instead of taking up precious time in doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.

A new scheme launched in Bradford will now help people make the right choices when it comes to their health – meaning they will be able to access the right treatment faster.

Pharmacy First is a service funded by NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which will provide local people with rapid access to a pharmacist who can give advice and support and, where necessary, can also dispense medicines without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

The scheme will relieve pressure on GPs’ appointment schedules meaning patients with more urgent or serious needs can see their doctor sooner.

Common ailments covered by the scheme are:
•    athlete’s foot
•    blocked nose
•    cold
•    cough
•    earache
•    fever
•    hay fever
•    sore throat
•    teething
•    threadworms
•    thrush

These are all conditions which can often be treated without the need to see a GP, and some pharmacies now have consultation rooms for people want to speak in private.

The service is available at pharmacies throughout Bradford City and is available to anyone who is registered at a City GP practice. Patients exempt from paying prescription charges will, if necessary, be supplied medicines free of charge.

People should look out for stickers and posters displayed in the window of participating pharmacies.

“This is a scheme which will allow GPs and A&E units to dedicate time to patients with more serious or life-threatening conditions,” said clinical chair of NHS Bradford City CCG, Dr Akram Khan.

“It will also mean that people who have minor ailments can go straight to their pharmacy and get the help and advice they need without making a doctor’s appointment. It’s important to remember that pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can assist with many minor health problems. They can advise, treat or refer as necessary.

“I and my fellow Bradford City doctors are urging people to Think Pharmacy First!”

Pharmacists Atique Rafiq and Ajmal Amin are joint owners of Sahara Pharmacy in Duckworth Lane, Bradford and have signed up for the scheme.

Atique said: “This is an excellent scheme which we welcome because it is an opportunity for us to work even more closely with our local community and for us to build on the service we offer.”

Ajmal added: “People often come to us for advice and reassurance and Pharmacy First is all about being able to help people quickly. Sometimes people want information about ailments or about the medication they are taking. Pharmacy First means they don’t have to make an appointment with their GP. They can come to us and we are ready to listen and advise and treat.”