Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath, has welcomed the launch of the Conservative Government’s Pharmacy First approach, helping patients across Surrey Heath to receive care more quickly through better use of our community pharmacies.
Hundreds of pharmacies have signed up to Pharmacy First so far, which enables pharmacists to utilise more of their medical skills and training. This will mean that patients across Surrey Heath can receive treatment for seven common health conditions from their local pharmacy without the need to visit a GP or have a prescription.
Their pharmacist will be able to help with conditions including sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bites, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women. Following the assessment, the pharmacist can then supply the prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals, to treat the problem.
The new Pharmacy First approach will not only speed up access to essential care for patients, but also help to reduce pressure on local GP services by directing people to more appropriate places to be treated. Backed by up to £645 million, 95 per cent of pharmacies across England have opted-in so far, meaning that patients will be able to receive care more quickly without the need to wait for a GP appointment.
The Pharmacy First approach builds on the other measures outlined in the Primary Care Recovery Plan last spring, including tackling the 8am rush by giving GPs new digital tools and providing more GP staff and more appointments.
In combination, the Primary Care Recovery Plan aims to free up 10 million GP appointments a year by next winter, and give the public more choice in where and how they access care.
The Conservative Government has made strong progress on improving access to primary care including meeting its manifesto pledge to deliver 50 million additional GP appointments since 2019 and recruiting record numbers of doctors and nurses for the NHS.
By sticking to the plan, the Government is delivering on the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut NHS waiting lists, delivering more care in the community and ensuring that patients receive the care they need, when they need it.
Commenting, Michael said:
“Pharmacy First is a great initiative, utilising the skills of so many brilliant pharmacists to treat more people in the community, without the need for a GP appointment – helping to speed up their own care and reducing the pressure on local GP surgeries.
“Pharmacies across Surrey Heath have signed up to Pharmacy First, which will enable local residents easier and faster access to care.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP 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.”