Antibiotics to be prescribed at pharmacies under new GP plan

Under a new health plan that was launched in England today, pharmacies will be equipped with new measures to help relieve pressure on GPs.

The recovery plan, which promises to overhaul stretched GP services by shifting some of the work to other parts of the health service, is asking patients to use high street pharmacies for some common prescription drugs, including antibiotics and routine tests.

a building with a large white cross on it's side

Pharmacies will take on the prescribing of drugs for seven common ailments:

  • Earache
  • Sore throat
  • Sinusitis
  • Impetigo
  • Shingles
  • Infected insect bite
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections

Against this backdrop, NHS England says its plan will free up 15 million GP appointments over the next two years. However, some chemists have cast their concerns about how pharmacies will cope with the extra demand.

Recent data displays there are now fewer local chemists than at any time since 2015, which has come as a result of rising operational costs, staff shortages and reduced government financial support have been blamed.

However, after the plan was announced, NHS England Chief Executive, Amanda Pritchard, said pharmacy services will get £645m over the next two years to boost staffing and resources, which suggests the establishments may not get as overwhelmed as people originally thought.

Alongside this, in an effort to ease the frustration of morning phone calls to try to book a GP appointment, surgeries will get £240m to modernise and deal with multiple calls at once. The NHS bosses have claimed that within a year, nine in 10 people should be able to access their GP record on a smartphone to check things like test results, without needing to call their GP.

Commenting on the announcement, Amanda Pritchard said: ‘We are already seeing more than half a million patients a week more in GP surgeries than we were pre-pandemic. But we know that we need to go further to expand services and transform the way we provide care.’

Image: Serkan Yildiz


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