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NHS Pharmacy

Community pharmacy teams are the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Around 1.6million people visit a pharmacy every day and their interventions dealing with minor aliments takes considerable pressure of GP services. Indeed symptoms presented by one in 3 patients in GP waiting rooms could effectively be managed by pharmacists.

Over 1 billion prescription items are dispensed every year in England involving numerous contacts with patients where information on medicines are shared and advice given.

From a public health perspective, pharmacists see more healthy people than any other group of primary health care professionals. They are well placed to make interventions to help keep people healthy, and to prompt people to make healthy choices.

NHS Pharmacy Team Colleagues
A pharmacy team, fully integrated within a modern health centre, can bring significant benefits to the wider primary health care team – not just to the patients being served. The majority of NHS primary care interventions result in a prescription medicine being prescribed, and so the opportunity for such interventions to be supported by a qualified medicines expert is significant indeed, from advising on how to take the medicines properly, to vigilance for side-effects and correct dosing. If such issues arise and are not addressed then GP efforts will have been in vain, leading to considerable waste, as well as the presenting condition not being treated properly.

NHS Pharmacy First Services – Surgeries with co-located pharmacies are especially well placed to take advantage of the NHS Pharmacy First service. Surgery receptionists can refer patients with minor conditions to the pharmacy, especially where primary care appointment options are scarce. The patient will typically have a same-day consultation with the pharmacist, with prescription medicines potentially being available for a number of common conditions such as Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), Sinusitis, Impetigo, Shingles, and several more!

NHS Pharmacy Blood Pressure Checks Service – pharmacy teams can now take referrals from surgeries to check and monitor blood pressure, including 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM).

Every referral streamed from the surgery to the pharmacy serves to reduce pressure on the surgery, both on the clinical teams and on the operational budget, with average sized practices typically referring a dozen patients or more per day to the local pharmacies!