Pharmacists sign up patients

Around 39,000 patients in the Forth Valley have signed up to receive health advice from pharmacists rather than GPs.

Dr Andrew Buist
Dr Andrew Buist

The minor ailments service is part of a new UK-wide contract giving pharmacists a bigger role in health care.

The scheme could make pharmacies even more viable in rural areas, causing further worry for remote dispensing practices, warned Dr Andrew Buist, deputy chairman of the Scottish GPC.

GP reported this month how pharmacies were opening without public consultation in Scotland , threatening practices that rely on income from dispensing.

The minor ailments service is available to patients exempt from prescription charges, who can receive treatment for minor illnesses free of charge.

The pharmacist will assess them, offer advice and, if it is needed, provide certain medicines and treatments at no cost, usually eliminating the need to see a GP.

If necessary, patients will be referred to another health professional or their doctor.

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said it would not be taking patients away from GP practices.

‘Patients will sign up for health advice with a pharmacy but can still register with a GP. It’s mostly for people on benefits with minor ailments, like needing cough medicine.’

Dr Buist said that it was too early to say whether it would adversely affect GP funding but that rural dispensing doctors could be affected.

‘There is a concern it might make pharmacies more viable in rural areas where practices rely on income from dispensing.’

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Close up of hand holding sample tube with 'Omicron' handwritten on side

Government urged to 'free up' GP practices and expand steps to control Omicron

GPs have called for immediate action such as suspension of QOF to allow practices...

(Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...

External wall of GP surgery with wording 'medical centre'

‘Utterly toxic’: GPs speak out over abuse and physical attacks on practice teams

GPs have condemned a rise in verbal and physical attacks on practice staff - warning...

Artist's image of a spiked virus

Javid warns of 'substantial risk' from new COVID-19 variant

The highly mutated COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 'may pose a significant risk to public...

Desk with lettering 'LMC conference'

LMCs reject 'outdated' GMS contract and demand move to item of service payments

LMCs have voted to scrap the 'outdated and inadequate' GMS contract and to replace...

GPs at an LMC conference waving green voting cards in the air

LMCs demand ringfence on enhanced services cash and clear GP representation in ICSs

LMCs have called for a ringfence on enhanced services funding, along with a guarantee...