Pharmacy service set to ease A&E strain

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HEALTH chiefs are urging patients to use a new service run by pharmacists designed to take pressure off a busy A&E unit and GPs.

NHS officials in Bradford say precious time in GP surgeries and casualty at the city’s infirmary is being taken up by patients suffering from common ailments or with medicine-related problems

Now a new scheme Pharmacy First is being funded by NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide people with rapid access to a pharmacist who can give advice and support and dispense medicines without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

The programme is designed to relieve pressure on GP appointment schedules and allow patients with more urgent or serious needs to see their doctor sooner.

Common ailments covered by the scheme are athlete’s foot, blocked nose, coughs and colds, earache, hayfever, sore throat, teething, thrush and threadworms.

The service is available at pharmacies throughout the centre of Bradford and is available to anyone who is registered at a GP practice run by the CCG.

Its clinical chairman Akram Khan said: “This is a scheme which will allow GPs and A&E units to dedicate time to patients with more serious or life-threatening conditions.

“It will also mean that people who have minor ailments can go straight to their pharmacy and get the help and advice they need without making a doctor’s appointment.

“It’s important to remember that pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can assist with many minor health problems. They can advise, treat or refer as necessary.”

Pharmacist Ajmal Amin, joint owner of Sahara Pharmacy in Duckworth Lane, Bradford, who has signed up for the scheme, urged patients to take advantage of the initiative.

He said: “Pharmacy First means they don’t have to make an appointment with their GP. They can come to us and we are ready to listen and advise and treat.”

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