Community pharmacy sore throat screening service to restart in two areas of the board of health

A sore throat testing and treatment (STTT) service run by a community pharmacy is to be restarted in two areas of the Wales Board of Health, after a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, a carrier said word of the Welsh government. The pharmaceutical journal.

The on-site STTT throat swab program, which uses rapid antigen detection tests (RADT) for the diagnosis and management of people with group A streptococcal infections, has been launched in some pharmacies in Cwm Taf Morgannwg University and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Council. zones in fall 2018; the first NHS funded STTTs in the UK.

The service was launched as part of the NHS Wales ‘Choose Pharmacy’ service and was due to be extended to cover all seven health boards, but was suspended in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November 2020, a report from Health Technology Wales (HTW) – a national body working to improve the quality of care in Wales – said that RADTs for the diagnosis and management of people with group A strep infections should not be routinely adopted in community pharmacies. , despite “some promising evidence”.

However, in its guidelines, HTW acknowledged that there was “a demand” for the service in Wales, adding that where it was already in practice, it would be “beneficial” to encourage study.

“Further research is recommended to demonstrate the clinical efficacy of RADT in the community pharmacy setting,” he said.

Talk to Pharmaceutical journal, a Welsh government spokesperson said: “Advice from Health Technology Wales confirms our view that rapid antigen testing in community pharmacies is showing promise.

“While there was not enough evidence of clinical cost-effectiveness or costs for HTW to support routine adoption, they concluded that the role of RADT testing in community pharmacy should continue to be examined in the further research.

“After a hiatus during the COVID pandemic, we are now restarting the sore throat testing and treatment service in two areas of the board of health.”

The spokesperson added, “We will continue to work with boards of health and university partners to continue to deploy the service through well-designed observational studies. “

The Sore Throat Testing and Treatment Service in Wales

Rapid antigen detection tests are point-of-care tests that can be used in primary care to help diagnose cases of sore throats caused by group A strep infections and guide antibiotic prescribing decisions. Currently, the best practice for testing is to take a throat swab from the patient, which is then sent to a lab to test for the presence of the bacteria.

Andrew Evans, Pharmaceuticals Director for Wales, commissioned Health Technology Wales to assess the use of the test, particularly in community pharmacies, because of its potential to ease pressure on GPs and improve the management of the test. the appropriate prescription of antibiotics.

In August 2020, a survey of 510 people who accessed the community pharmacy sore throat screening and treatment service found that 98% said they were satisfied with the service and, after using it, 99% of respondents said they would return to a pharmacy for subsequent symptoms of sore throat.

READ MORE: Welsh pharmacies sore throat test and treatment ‘should not be adopted routinely’, review says

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