Think Pharmacy First
It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor health problems such as
coughs and colds, mild eczema and athlete’s foot. Topsham Pharmacy is delighted to have recently qualified
as an ‘Accredited Provider’ of two new NHS schemes which aim to relieve pressure on doctors. The intention
of both schemes is to encourage the public to think ‘Pharmacy First’ and free up doctors’ time for more urgent
and complex concerns and reduce waiting times.
Firstly the ‘Community Pharmacy Winter Ailments Scheme’ offers patients who are exempt from prescription
charges, such as under 16’s, over 60’s and low income families, a valuable alternative to having to book an
appointment with their GP, visit a walk‐in centre, Out Of Hours Provider or even ‘Accident and Emergency’
when suffering from common winter conditions. The scheme allows accredited pharmacies to offer an
alternative and convenient location to seek advice and over the counter treatments for some of the most
common winter ailments including sore throats, coughs and colds. Treatments such as specified analgesics,
cough suppressants, nasal decongestants and rehydration treatments will be available free of charge to
patients in exempt groups, after a brief consultation with a member of pharmacy staff.
Secondly, ‘The Community Pharmacy Minor Ailment Scheme’ will ensure that all patients can conveniently
access advice and some ‘Prescription Only’ Medicines from a local accredited pharmacy without first visiting a
doctor. There is a list of various specific conditions and treatments that are covered by the scheme, including
eye drops for conjunctivitis, creams for nappy rash, athletes’ foot or impetigo and specified antibiotics for
uncomplicated urinary infections. There will be no charge for these treatments for exempt groups and those
who normally pay for their prescriptions will only have to pay the same charge as if they’d received the
prescription from their GP.
Steve Murphy, pharmacist at Topsham Pharmacy said “These schemes make so much sense. As pharmacists
we’re perfectly qualified and placed to help people with a huge range of ailments that don’t require an
appointment or a wait to see a doctor. We hope that patients will realise the benefits of seeking help at their
pharmacy first and thereby reduce the significant demand on our doctors.”
‘The Winter Ailment Scheme’ will run until the end of March and ‘The Community Pharmacy Minor Ailment
Scheme’ will continue through the year. Both schemes are offered from all three local pharmacies ‐ 3 Fore
Street, Topsham and Countess Wear Pharmacies.
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For more information contact Topsham Pharmacy (18 Fore Street 01392 873063), 3 Fore Street Pharmacy (Topsham
01392 873581) or Countess Wear Pharmacy, Glass House Medical Centre (01392 877000).