£650m ‘Pharmacy First’ plan will ‘ease burden on GPs’ says MP

The launch of Pharmacy First – a £650 million government approach to helping communities receive medical care faster – has been welcomed by MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman.
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One hundred and eight pharmacies in Lincolnshire have signed up to the scheme, which enables pharmacists to utilise more of their medical skills and training and is designed to tackle the ‘8am rush’ at GP surgeries.

Patients can receive treatment for seven common health conditions from their local pharmacy without the need to visit a GP or have a prescription.

Pharmacists will be able to treat conditons such as sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women by offering prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals,.

Health Minister Victoria Atkins MP.Health Minister Victoria Atkins MP.
Health Minister Victoria Atkins MP.

The new Pharmacy First approach was announced yesterday (Wednesday) by Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins, who also serves the Louth and Spilsby areas as MP.

She said: “I’m determined to deliver faster, simpler, fairer access to care for patients, and the expansion of Pharmacy First will mean patients can get treatment for common conditions without needing to see their GP first.

“This is good news for patients and good news for the NHS. It will free up millions of GP appointments per year and mean that patients can get quick and effective treatment from their local pharmacy.

“As four in five people live within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, for many seeing their local pharmacist will be the easiest option – so this initiative will have real benefits for patients and help cut NHS waiting lists.”

The Pharmacy First approach builds on the other measures outlined in the Primary Care Recovery Plan last spring, which aims to free up 10 million GP appointments a year by next winter.

Commenting, Matt Warman MP said: “The pandemic put huge pressure on our NHS services here in Boston & Skegness and as we continue with our recovery, it is essential that patients receive the care they need quickly and easily.

“That is why I am delighted that the Conservative Government has launched the Pharmacy First approach, using the skills of our pharmacists to treat more people in the community without the need for a GP appointment – speeding up their own care as well as reducing pressure on local GP services.”