NHS England launched the Pharmacy First service on 31 January.
Under this service, community pharmacies across England will be able to provide a wider range of clinical treatments to the public. The introduction of this service is designed to help ease pressure on GP surgeries and improve patient access to care, as part of the Department of Health and Social Care’s Primary Care Access Recovery Plan.
Almost all community pharmacies in Norfolk and Waveney have signed up to deliver the Pharmacy First service, which is excellent news for patients, community pharmacies, and GP practices. By thinking ‘Pharmacy First’, people will find it easier and quicker to get the help they need.
Can I access Pharmacy First services in my local pharmacy now?
While almost all community pharmacies in our area have signed up to the service, not all pharmacies will be offering all elements of the service and not all pharmacies are offering the service straightaway.
Please contact your local pharmacy before you travel to find out if they offer the Pharmacy First service for the specific health condition you would like to speak to the Pharmacist about.
What services are included in Pharmacy First?
Pharmacy First will mean pharmacies can be the first port of call for many patients who need healthcare advice and potentially treatment for several common health conditions without needing a GP appointment. These include:
1. Sinusitis (for adults and children agreed 12 years and over)
2. Sore throat (for adults and children aged 5 years and over)
3. Earache (for children and young adults aged 1 year to 17 years)
4. Infected insect bite (for children and adults aged 1 year and over)
5. Impetigo (for adults and children aged 1 year and over)
6. Shingles (for adults aged 18 years and over)
7. Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (for women aged 16 to 64 years)
Following a consultation the Pharmacist may decide that over-the counter treatment and/or self care advice are appropriate dependent on your symptoms. Or if clinically necessary, the Pharmacist will be able to offer an NHS medicine to treat it (NHS prescription charges will apply if you normally pay for medicines supplied on prescription).
Should the pharmacy team be unable to help, then you will be directed to another healthcare professional as appropriate.
When will the service be fully operational in Norfolk and Waveney?
NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB has been working with both community pharmacies and GP practices to support them to prepare for this exciting new development in primary care. The ICB anticipates that all pharmacies that have signed up to deliver the service will be fully operational later this Spring.