Patients who call 111 for urgent repeat prescriptions to bypass GP

Patients who call NHS 111 for urgent repeat prescriptions will be referred directly to community pharmacy services, bypassing GP out-of-hours services under plans unveiled by the DH.

Health minister David Mowat said the Pharmacy Urgent Care pilot scheme would be rolled out from December 2016 and 'developed and evaluated' until April 2018.

The scheme - a version of which has been trialled in north-east England since 2014 - aims to 'cut down the 200,000 calls per year to NHS 111 for urgent repeat prescription medication, reduce waiting times in general practice and free up GPs who are estimated to spend nearly 40% of their time advising patients on minor ailments', a DH statement said.

Mr Mowat also set out plans to refer patients with urgent minor ailments to community pharmacy services. Patients with urgent minor ailments such as earaches, sore throats and bites will be referred by NHS 111 services to community pharmacy teams.

GP prescriptions

The DH hopes the scheme will also ease workload in A&E, where many patients who require urgent repeat medication seek help.

Mr Mowat said: 'Community pharmacists already contribute a huge amount to the NHS, but we are modernising the sector to give patients the best possible quality and care.

'This new scheme will make more use of pharmacists' expertise, as well as freeing up vital time for GPs and reducing visits to A&E for urgent repeat medicines.

'This scheme is part of our drive to meet increasing demand for services - transforming how pharmacists and their teams operate in the community, and bringing clear benefits to patients and the public whilst making the best use of taxpayers' money.'

Speaking at the RCGP annual conference in Harrogate last week, Mr Mowat said that controversial sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) could be blocked if GPs oppose them.

Podcast: What do STPs mean for GPs?

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Patient receiving flu vaccination

GP practices denied funding to vaccinate their own staff against flu

GPs have hit out at NHS England over a 'maddeningly frustrating' failure to offer...

BMA junior doctor strike action in 2016

Junior doctors to be balloted on industrial action in early January

The BMA looks set to ballot junior doctors in England on industrial action in early...

BMA sign

BMA sets up first-ever ‘strike fund’ to support industrial action

The BMA is about to release £2m from its reserves to pay for possible ballots on...

Dozens of GPs with suicidal thoughts contact specialist service every month

A specialist mental health service for doctors is being contacted by dozens of GPs...

GP consultation

GPs demand this summer 'matched pre-pandemic winter'

General practice needs urgent support to cope with spiralling demand after appointments...

Talking General Practice

Podcast: Looking after GP mental health at a time of crisis

We speak to Dr Helen Garr, medical director of NHS Practitioner Health, about the...