Patients in England will now be able to get treatment for seven common conditions at high street pharmacies without needing to see a GP, as part of a major transformation in the way the NHS delivers care.
Trained pharmacists will be able to assess and treat patients for sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women (under the age of 65) without the need for a GP appointment or prescription.
The NHS said that 90% of community chemists have registered to provide the new service and it will free up around 10 million GP appointments a year.
Patients can access the new service by walking straight into a chemist or being referred by NHS 111, urgent treatment centres, emergency departments or their GP. Those who are not registered with a GP can still access the service.
The scheme is part of the NHS and government’s primary care access recovery plan.
The NHS will launch a national marketing campaign from mid-February 2024, which will encourage the public to access advice and treatment from community pharmacy services for common conditions and run for six weeks. They are developing a communications toolkit for ICBs to use to share information across their channels.