Pharmacies are solution to creaking GP and A&E services

Britain’s pharmacies are able and willing to offer other healthcare services and to relieve pressure on GP surgeries and hospital A&E departments, says the NPA.

Responding to newspaper headlines yesterday (May 9) about high street pharmacies competing with doctors to provide clinical services, chairman Ian Strachan said: “Pharmacies are not in the business of competing with GPs. In fact, positive GP-pharmacy relationships are necessary to underpin seamless patient care. But it is important to recognise that local pharmacies are just as much part of the NHS frontline as are doctors and nurses.”

Given the opportunity, pharmacies could take on routine elements of the management of some long-term conditions freeing up GPs and also help ease the pressure on A&E departments, he added.

Mr Strachan made his remarks the same day that the Department of Health announced that pharmacies in England will once again be able to provide NHS flu vaccinations, when the 2016/17 season begins. “This is not about competition, but it’s certainly about choice. Last winter, almost a quarter of a million patients chose to receive their NHS vaccination at a community pharmacy”.

This is not about competition, but it’s certainly about choice

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