Marcus Fysh MP welcomes launch of Pharmacy First services in Yeovil constituency, as Conservative Government helps deliver 10 million more GP appointments and speed up access to care
- The pandemic put huge pressure on the NHS, but the Conservative Government has made good progress on its priority to cut waiting lists, virtually eliminating waits of over two years and cutting 18 month waits by over 90 per cent from their peak – but there is more to do.
- That is why Marcus has welcomed the Pharmacy First approach, meaning 93 pharmacies across Somerset will be able to treat common health conditions without patients needing to see a GP, freeing up to 10 million GP appointments a year as part of the Conservative Government’s Primary Care Recovery Plan.
- By sticking to the plan, the Conservative Government will continue to make progress on improving access to primary care and cutting NHS waiting lists, helping patients to receive the treatment they need more quickly.
Marcus has welcomed the launch of the Conservative Government’s Pharmacy First approach, helping patients across the Yeovil constituency to receive care more quickly through better use of our community pharmacies.
93 pharmacies in Somerset have signed up to Pharmacy First so far, which enables pharmacists to utilise more of their medical skills and training. This will mean that patients across the Yeovil constituency can receive treatment for seven common health conditions from their local pharmacy without the need to visit a GP or have a prescription.
Their pharmacist will be able to help with conditions include sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women. Following the assessment, the pharmacist can then supply the prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals, to treat the problem.
The new Pharmacy First approach will not only speed up access to essential care for patients, but also help to reduce pressure on local GP services by directing people to more appropriate places to be treated. Backed by up to £645 million, 95 per cent of pharmacies across England have opted-in so far, meaning that patients will be able to receive care more quickly without the need to wait for a GP appointment.
The Pharmacy First approach builds on the other measures outlined in the Primary Care Recovery Plan last spring, including tackling the 8am rush by giving GPs new digital tools and providing more GP staff and more appointments.
In combination, the Primary Care Recovery Plan aims to free up 10 million GP appointments a year by next winter, and give the public more choice in where and how they access care.
The Conservative Government has made strong progress on improving access to primary care including meeting its manifesto pledge to deliver 50 million additional GP appointments since 2019 and recruiting record numbers of doctors and nurses for the NHS.
By sticking to the plan, the Government is delivering on the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut NHS waiting lists, delivering more care in the community and ensuring that patients receive the care they need, when they need it.
Commenting, Marcus said:
“The pandemic put huge pressure on our NHS services here in the Yeovil constituency and as we continue with our recovery, it is essential that patients receive the care they need quickly and easily”.
“I have visited many pharmacies in the constituency to listen to their challenges and support their invaluable services in our communities. With this and the new diagnostic centre in Yeovil, along with sustained extra spending in the NHS we have been very proactive in bringing down waiting lists for health services across the board”.
“That is why I am delighted that the Conservative Government has launched the Pharmacy First approach, using the skills of our pharmacists to treat more people in the community without the need for a GP appointment – speeding up their own care as well as reducing pressure on local GP services”.
“At least 93 of pharmacies have signed up to Pharmacy First across Somerset ensuring that the local people can access care”.
“I am actively urging Ministers to help pharmacies with effective systems and processes to make administration of this easier. We would like trained pharmacists to be using their expertise rather than having to do so much clerical work when they already work so incredibly hard”.
“We are sticking with the plan to improve access to care and cut NHS waiting lists, delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority so that that everyone can access the treatment they need.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP said:
“I’m determined to deliver faster, simpler, fairer access to care for patients, and the expansion of Pharmacy First will mean patients can get treatment for common conditions without needing to see their GP first.
“This is good news for patients and good news for the NHS. It will free up millions of GP appointments per year and mean that patients can get quick and effective treatment from their local pharmacy.
“As four in five people live within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, for many seeing their local pharmacist will be the easiest option – so this initiative will have real benefits for patients and help cut NHS waiting lists.”