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Pharmacy First Posted or Updated on 24 May 2024

Ward End Medical Centre along with every GP Practice in England is signposting patients to local Pharmacies for minor illnesses under the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service. This allows patients with more acute illnesses that can only be treated by a GP to access the appropriate service quicker.

When a patient with minor illness symptoms contacts their GP practice requesting an appointment the care navigator or receptionist will ask them a series of questions using a standard appropriate symptom checklist. If their symptoms are appropriate, the GP practice can refer them for a same-day consultation with a community pharmacist. With the patient’s consent, the practice team can send an electronic referral message to the pharmacy the patient has chosen, to support safe follow up and audit.

Following the referral, the pharmacist will contact the patient the same day by phone and either carry out the consultation by telephone, or arrange for the patient to attend the pharmacy, if appropriate. Some patients may be offered a video consultation by the pharmacist.

The pharmacist will take the patient’s clinical history and ask about symptoms and any current medication. Following the consultation, the pharmacist will offer clinical advice and may sell the patient an over the counter product if appropriate and they agree.

Pharmacists are trained to recognise ‘red flag’ symptoms suggestive of more serious illness and after initial triage, where symptoms do suggest something more serious, the pharmacist will help the patient to arrange an urgent GP appointment using the practice’s dedicated professional number or escalate to an urgent care setting such as the emergency department, if needed.

The pharmacist will make a record of the outcome of the consultation and send it to the patient’s GP by secure digital message.

The benefit of the service for patients is that they are triaged on the same day and given the clinical advice and support they need. There is good evidence that advice provided by community pharmacists about minor illness results in the same outcome as if the patient went to see their GP or attended an emergency department.

Please be advised that receptionists will be asking questions to triage your call to ensure services are used appropriately.

Pharmacists are undertaking a range of services in the community including:

  • Ear infections
  • Throat infections
  • Headaches/ Migraines
  • Body pains
  • Colds and Flu
  • Head lice
  • Contraception
  • Urine infections
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