NHS pharmacy

Over 10,000 pharmacies take part in major NHS primary care expansion

Patients are set to benefit from a major new expansion to NHS primary care services which is expected to free up 10 million GP appointments a year.

From today, 10,265 community pharmacies across England will be offering patients treatment for seven common conditions without needing to see a GP first.

The seven conditions include:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women under the age of 65

The move, which is part of the primary care access recovery plan, will give patients more control over where and how they access care, according to NHS England (NHSE).

The 10,000+ sites offering the ground-breaking scheme constitute more than nine in 10 community pharmacies across England.

Andrea Leadsom comment

NHSE says the initiative builds on the expansion of the contraceptive pill service in December 2023, with 5,367 pharmacies in England now giving women the chance to get oral contraception over the counter without needing to see their GP first.

NHSE expects this to benefit nearly half a million women a year in the future.

The health secretary, Victoria Atkins, said: “This is about ensuring people get the treatment they need closer to home, while crucially helping deliver on our plan to cut waiting lists, by freeing up 10 million GP appointments a year, so people get the care they need more quickly.”

The expansion of community pharmacy services is backed by £645m of government funding.

NHSE’s chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, added: “This is all part of major transformation in the way the NHS delivers care, with the health service determined to giving people more choice in how they can access treatment.”

Image credit: iStock

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