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Pharmacists in England will help run minor ailments services from next year

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 20 October 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2523
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

From next year community pharmacists will be able to run services covering a number of medical conditions normally handled by GPs, as part of a nationwide pilot scheme funded by NHS England.

The pilot scheme, revealed by the Pharmaceutical Journal,1 will allow prescribing pharmacists to treat a wider range of conditions including hypertension, high cholesterol, contraception, and minor illnesses.

Currently, pharmacists in England can prescribe within their clinical competency if they have completed a prescribing qualification. Of approximately 27 000 community pharmacists, an estimated 1000 have this qualification. However, there is currently no funded England-wide scheme that allows community pharmacists to cover these ailments.

The Department of Health and Social Care has said that data from Scotland indicate that enabling pharmacists to prescribe antibiotics for urinary tract infections alone could save 400 000 GP appointments a year and a total of …

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