Helping to take some pressure off our GP surgeries, prescription medicine for a range of common health conditions is now available from a growing number of pharmacies in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.
The new initiative means local people no longer need to visit their GP in order to get the medication they need to feel better.
More than 80 pharmacies across the region are now able to give out medicine for five common health conditions that would have previously needed a prescription from a GP.
The conditions covered by this new initiative are sore throats, female urine infections, impetigo and dermatitis, both of which are common skin infections, and conjunctivitis.
People with other conditions not included in the list can still seek help from a pharmacy, where they may be recommended an over-the-counter product or, if necessary, signposted to an alternative service.
Although many pharmacies are already signed up to this new initiative, it is hoped even more will come on board in the new year
Helen Wilkinson, Community Pharmacy Clinical Lead, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “This new way of providing people with the medicine they need is a very exciting for the local health and care system, as patients with some common health conditions no longer need a prescription issued by their GP.
“Instead, people just need to visit one of the participating pharmacies, discuss their symptoms with the pharmacist, who can then advise and provide the medication that would have once only been available following a consultation in-practice or over-the- phone with a GP.
“Primary care is exceptionally busy at the moment, and our doctors and nurses are seeing more patients than ever before, so this new system should not only relieve some of that pressure but also help people with relatively simple-to-treat conditions get the advice and medicine they need sooner.”
Demand for primary care services has risen in recent weeks, with the increase partly driven by growing concern among parents of young children regarding Strep A infections.
All GP practices in the local region are now offering patients more appointments outside of traditional working hours, such as in the evenings and at weekends, as well as more types of appointments, including those that take place over the phone and by video call.
The full list of participation pharmacies, along with up-to-date information on all local health and care services, can be found online at http://www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.