Letters: Pharmacies can offer valuable patient services

I was interested to read your article 'PCTs choose GPs for vascular checks' (GP, 12 December). However, the reality is that both PCTs and GPs are increasingly open to the role that pharmacy and other alternative providers can play in the vascular checks programme.

Doctors' leaders have told us that they see an important role for pharmacy in the programme, particularly in under-doctored areas and for hard-to-reach groups.

It would be a lost opportunity if PCTs were to pursue a single channel when common sense dictates that a co-ordinated offering involving both GPs and pharmacy would deliver far greater results for patients.

Last year Lloydspharmacy showed just what can be achieved by performing health checks on 10,000 men in Birmingham's most deprived wards. Many of these men had not been to see their GP for decades.

Sixty-five per cent of those checked were referred for further investigation and more than three quarters said they intended to make lifestyle changes as a result.

Andy Murdock, pharmacy director, Lloyds Pharmacy.

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