Patients with one of seven illnesses have been encouraged to see their pharmacists, instead of their GPs, with a new interactive map showing the worst in the UK
Patients with a number of illnesses have been visiting pharmacists instead of waiting to see their GPs – and the country’s worst have been shown in a new interactive map.
A £645million deal with NHS England meant from January 31st, people have been able to visit pharmacists on the High Street to receive treatment for seven conditions – earache, sore throats, sinusitis, shingles, impetigo, urinary tract infections and infected insect bites and stings. Nine in ten in England are participating, 10,265 in total, and will now allow walk-in consultations without the need to book.
Pharmacies in the UK are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council who carry out inspections to ensure standards are being met. Since January 2023, 129 high street pharmacies were found not to be meeting all the standards during inspections. You can search for your local pharmacy using our interactive map below.
Another 53 of those – including four Tesco in-store pharmacies – were subsequently reinspected and passed, leaving 76 pharmacies that were inspected in the last 12 months and failed to meet all standards on their latest report. They include seven which have an active enforcement action against them, which can range from fixing windows to not being able to prescribe medicine.
We recently ran a poll asking if people are happy to see a pharmacist instead of a GP, with the majority (826) saying no, while another 619 voted yes. Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, said: “GPs are already treating millions more people every month than before the pandemic, but with an ageing population and growing demand, we know the NHS needs to give people more choice and make accessing care as easy as possible.
“People across England rightly value the support they receive from their high street pharmacist, and with eight in ten living within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy and twice as many pharmacies in areas of deprivation, they are the perfect spot to offer people convenient care for common conditions.”
The scheme follows similar initiatives in Wales and Scotland. NHS England said it will free up 10 million GP appointments a year. It comes as an exodus of overworked GPs from the NHS is making it harder and harder for Brits to see a family doctor.
Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, welcomed the move but warned that pharmacies are “severely underfunded to the tune of £1.2 billion now and as a direct result of that are reducing opening hours and even closing completely”.