Community pharmacy services are stepped up in North Wales as the NHS braces for the busiest winter

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Posted: Thursday 11 November 2021

Update: Thu 11 Nov

This article is old – Publication: Thursday, November 11, 2021

The number of pharmacies in North Wales where people can receive assessment, diagnosis and prescribed medication for minor illnesses is expected to more than double in the winter months.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Council has announced that the number of pharmacies offering an independent NHS prescriber service will increase from 11 to 25, as primary care services in the region prepare for their busiest winter on record checked in.

The increase will allow more people to access free in-person assessments, as well as receive prescription drugs for a range of minor ailments, including ear, nose and throat problems, skin conditions and urinary tract infections.

All pharmacies in North Wales are currently able to provide free expert advice and advice on the treatment of common ailments and their symptoms, often without an appointment, providing a quick and convenient alternative to searching help from a general practitioner.

The improved service provided by independent prescribing pharmacists extends this to allow people to be prescribed drugs, such as antibiotics, which was traditionally only possible by general practitioners and some other healthcare professionals.

In addition to the five-year training course that all pharmacists take to qualify, the independent prescribing pharmacists providing this service in North Wales also undertake an intensive prescribing course and an additional course on minor illnesses at the Bangor University.

Independent prescribing service is currently provided in pharmacies in LlÅ·n Peninsula and in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Mold, Corwen, Coedpoeth, Colwyn Bay and Prestatyn.

The expected increase over the next few months will ensure the program is available in all six counties of North Wales and around 15% of pharmacies in the region.

Pharmacist Jenny White, of Rhosneigr Pharmacy in Anglesey, is among those who will offer the enhanced service when she qualifies in the coming weeks.

“The advantage of community pharmacy is that people can access health care pretty much instantly,” she explained.

“My clients can call or come in and make an appointment the same day, most of the time.

“The added benefit of the independent prescribing service is that people will soon be able to come to me for their minor acute conditions and I will be able to do a full assessment, diagnosis, treatment plan, and prescribe medications if needed. They won’t have to call their doctor’s office, wait for an appointment, or go through a telephone triage consultation. If things are more complex, we have put in place strong referral systems to make sure people get the care they need.

“I am using the skills I already have and have developed them further so that I can offer the services the village needs. “

Adam Mackridge, strategic manager of community pharmacy at BCUHB, said:

“We are encouraging more people with minor ailments and conditions to take advantage of the free expert advice provided by their local community pharmacy, which is generally accessible faster than other services.

“Pharmacists are highly trained clinical experts and are supported by a team of pharmacy technicians and other staff who have also undergone extensive training.

“All pharmacies offering these services have private consultation rooms where you can discuss minor ailments confidentially, just as you would with your GP.

“As the training to become an independent prescribing pharmacist takes a long time, the deployment will take time, but new pharmacies will begin to provide this service year on year, which will help increase choice and provide better access to patients. “

For access to free, 24-hour health advice, including details of your nearest community pharmacy, please visit the NHS 111 Wales website.

For more information on how to access the most appropriate health services, please visit the BCUHB website.

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