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Your spotlight on local services

The Pharmacy First programme seeks to relieve the demand for GP services by providing patients with prompt and easily accessible care.


As part of a significant change in the way the NHS provides care, patients in England can now receive treatment for seven common diseases from their high street pharmacy without visiting a general practitioner.

With the health service making it simpler and more convenient for individuals to obtain care, over nine out of ten community pharmacies in England are participating in the innovative programme. Without a GP visit, patients can receive treatment from highly trained pharmacists for conditions like sinusitis, sore throats, earaches, infections from bug bites, impetigo, shingles and women with simple urinary tract infections (under 65).

To free up 10 million GP appointments annually, the public will have more options for where and how they receive treatment thanks to the significant development of pharmacy services. The programme is a component of the government's and the NHS's primary care access recovery strategy, which aims to facilitate millions of people's access to healthcare. It expands on the effective rollout of the contraceptive pill programme in December 2023, when over 5,000 pharmacies registered to provide women with the option to purchase oral contraceptives over the counter from their pharmacy without first visiting their general practitioner. The NHS anticipates that in the future, nearly 500,000 women will obtain their contraception from their high street chemist.

This innovative approach to NHS care will guarantee that patients receive the care they require nearer to their homes, which is essential in achieving the goal of reducing waiting lists. To read more click on the link.


Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham
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