Somerset’s minor injury units will not be replaced by GP community pharmacy units, health bosses promise
Somerset’s Minor Injury Units (MIUs) will not be replaced by the new GP Community Pharmacy Service, health bosses have promised.
Somerset has seven MIUs, operated by the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, which provide a range of urgent treatment for patients who cannot get GP appointments and in doing so relieve pressure on the county’s A&E services . The Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently launched the Somerset GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (also known as Think Pharmacy), which is designed to quickly treat over 40 minor ailments and injuries.
Health bosses have now sought to assure the public that this new service will not result in any of the MIUs in Somerset being closed or replaced. Somerset’s seven MIUs are located in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Minehead and Shepton Mallet, with each facility open between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
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Minehead MIU used to offer overnight services, but these were temporarily closed in the summer of 2021 and then permanently closed in March 2022. The new pharmacy service is designed to give patients access to a community pharmacist who can diagnose and treat minor ailments, freeing up around 1,000 GP appointments every month in Somerset for people with more serious conditions.
Patients who call their doctor’s office will be referred to the service, with a same-day appointment being offered in person or over the phone. Minor illnesses or injuries that the service can treat include:
- Eye and ear infections
- Sore throat
- Skin infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Common summer conditions such as hay fever, insect bites and rashes
- Sprains and pain in the ankle, foot, knee, leg or arm
- Coughs and colds
- Mouth ulcers and blisters
If the pharmacist feels the patient needs further specialist help, they will be referred to their GP or another health service. Dr Jeremy Imms, Associate Clinical Director at CCG, said: “This service will be of great benefit to many of our patients, as many minor ailments are more appropriate for consultation with a community pharmacist rather than a doctor. generalist.
“This will improve access for patients with minor illnesses and will also help us free up GP appointments for people with more complex healthcare needs; helping to ensure everyone is treated at the right time. , by the right healthcare professional.At this time of year, people begin to experience seasonal conditions, such as hay fever, insect bites and rashes, as well as sports and other injuries. minor injuries just because they’re on the outside more.
“Our community pharmacists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating common complaints, and patients will now have the option to choose to have their consultation with a pharmacy near them at a time that is convenient for them.” Michael Lennox, CEO of Community Pharmacy Somerset, added: “Community pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals with five years’ training and spend a high percentage of their time helping treat patients with minor illnesses and recommend over-the-counter treatments if needed.
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“Area pharmacies are often open evenings and weekends and can provide same-day support over the phone, with most having rooms available for a private consultation. As well as saving you time, support from your community pharmacist is free. make appointments with your GP to see more urgent patients. If we think you need to see a GP, we will always advise you to do so.”
Following changes to the Minehead MIU, CCG has sought to assure patients that the new community pharmacists will not result in any planned closures within existing MIUs. A spokesperson said: “The Community Pharmacy Service at Somerset GP is a completely separate service, which was introduced by NHS England and is being rolled out locally in Somerset by the GCC, working with GPs and pharmacists community.
“It will not affect the MIUs and is not intended to replace them.” For more information on the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, visit www.somersetccg.nhs.uk/community-pharmacy.