Pharmacies in England to extend prescription service

Pharmacies in England to extend prescription service

Pharmacies in England to extend prescription service. Credit: Alex Segre/

Prescriptions will be offered through pharmacies for seven conditions in an effort to free up GP appointments.

Patients across Britain will be able to get prescriptions from their pharmacies, rather than the doctor for seven conditions.

People who are suffering from sinusitis, impetigo, earache, shingles, sore throat, infected insect bites and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) don’t now have to go to the doctors. Instead, they can get prescriptions to treat the conditions from their pharmacies.

The reforms are to be set out in a Primary Care Plan on Tuesday (May 9) by the government and NHS England. They have been designed to help free up 15m GP appointments over the next two years.

Data shows that 24m consultations have taken place over the past five months with an average waiting time for an appointment being a fortnight.

Thorrin Govind, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society called the plan a “real game-changer” for patients.

But not everyone is in agreement. Experts said not all pharmacies would be able to offer all or any of the new services. This would mean patients would end up back at their GP. There is also concern about the description of a UTI as “uncomplicated” as patients may not know the difference between an uncomplicated and a serious urinary tract infection.

Pharmacies will also now offer access to blood pressure checks and women who use oral contraception can attend the pharmacy for it rather than speaking to a practice nurse or GP.

Prof Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the plans were positive, but there were none that were the silver bullet needed to “address the intense workload and workforce pressures GPs and their teams are working under.”

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Written by

Julia Cameron

Julia is an ex-pat writer from Brighton living in a small village close to the Andalucian town of Priego de Cordoba. When she's not working she enjoys reading, tracing her ancestry and swimming. She especially loves the summer when she can get down to the coast and chill on the beach.