MANCHESTER MATTERS Welcome tonic! You can now ask your local pharmacist for medical advice
COMMUNITY pharmacists across Manchester are set to take the pressure off busy GPs this spring by offering a minor ailments service - which includes advice for hayfever, bites and stings.
The service hopes to ease GP workloads where one in five consultations are thought to be for minor conditions.
Under the plan - funded through the city’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups - the pharmacist is able to supply medicines on the NHS in the same way as a GP - so that patients who are entitled to free medicines still get them. The scheme, which also covers conditions like headaches, fever, mild eczema and dermatitis, was launched in July.
Since then Manchester pharmacists have carried out nearly 6,000 consultations (figures up to March 19) - with Monday and Tuesday the most popular days.
Aneet Kapoor, chair of Manchester Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “The service is all about making the most of pharmacist expertise - which is often an untapped potential.
“The pharmacist will carry out a consultation, including an assessment of symptoms and will supply medicines if needed - but in a 10th of cases medicine is not necessary.
“The pharmacist can also judge through triage if there are any areas of concern - in which case he or she would make a referral to the patient’s GP for an appointment.” No appointments are needed for the minor ailments service - patients can just walk in and ask for the pharmacist.
Mr Kapoor added: “Pharmacists open early and close late - which helps with accessibility.
“People can then have professional help and advice - which is entirely within a pharmacist’s comfort zone - and come back in at any stage with any further questions.
“This is often more convenient for the patient, it complements GP services and it makes the most of pharmacy expertise.” Hayfever is one of the most common allergies in the UK with most symptoms generally occurring between early spring and autumn.