Sunday, May 1, 2016
In recent news, plans for major reforms to the NHS were revealed which will see patients booking in for an appointment with their GP, referred to a pharmacist, if it is felt that this is the best route for their ailment to be managed effectively.
While patients may feel concerned at the proposed changes, the news that bold strides are being taken to ease the pressure on the over-burdened NHS should be welcomed.
Pharmacists are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to identifying and treating minor illnesses as well as advising on chronic health conditions and medication. Plus, if a pharmacist feels that a visit to the GP is the correct course of action, then that is the recommendation they will make.
GP surgeries are full of people suffering from coughs, colds, sore throats, flu, sprains, spots, bites and toothache, conditions that, in most cases, can be easily treated with a little guidance from a pharmacist - freeing up GPs to focus where they are most needed.
We have become so used to booking in with our GP for the smallest of concerns, and the strain is beginning to show. We need to take a different approach if we are going to save what is left of this invaluable resource, which is the envy of so many countries.
From a patient’s perspective, it’s win-win: a visit to the pharmacist will either result in medication, to treat your condition, or a trip to your GP where you can sit, safe in the knowledge that you are using NHS resources as they were intended.
Chief pharmacist, owner and manager of the Frost Pharmacy Group