MANCH­ESTER MAT­TERS Wel­come tonic! You can now ask your lo­cal phar­ma­cist for med­i­cal ad­vice

Sale & Altrincham Advertiser - - MANCHESTER MATTERS -

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.

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