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Pharmacy First would be expanded to acne and chest infections under Tories

Pharmacy First would be expanded to acne and chest infections under Tories

The Conservative Party has pledged to expand Pharmacy First to include more conditions, as well as have pharmacies provide more contraceptive options and menopause support, if elected at the general election.

The expansion would double the number of GP appointments saved by the scheme – from 10 million to 20 million, the party said.

It would be funded by cutting the number of NHS managers by 5,500 – to pre-pandemic levels – and controlling the amount spent by government on management consultancy.

In December 2023, before Pharmacy First began in England, the Government said it had no plans to expand the conditions included under the service.

But this weekend, the Conservative party said it wanted to allow pharmacists to treat more conditions such as acne and chest infections under Pharmacy First, as well as to offer contraceptive patches and injections and provide menopause support, including HRT.

The long-term plan for the Pharmacy Contraception service set out that pharmacists would eventually be able to offer Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) including implants, vaginal rings, injections and patches, but not intrauterine systems (IUS) and intrauterine devices (IUD).

The plans were announced alongside proposals to build or modernise 250 GP surgeries and build 50 new community diagnostic centres.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the investment in community services would make it ‘quicker, easier and more convenient for patients to receive the care they need and help to relieve pressure on hospital services’.

And health secretary Victoria Atkins said that because of the ‘bold action’ taken by the Conservative Government, pharmacies, GPs and community diagnostic centres – which she described as ‘the backbone of our NHS’ – were ‘more accessible in more places for more people’.

She added: ‘I know just how important it is for people to have access to health services and treatment close to home – and Pharmacy First and our hundreds of new Community Diagnostic Centres have been a real success story so far. But we must do more.

‘Our clear plan will continue to enable our brilliant pharmacists, GPs and CDCs to do what they do best: serving their local community and boosting capacity in our NHS. We will make the NHS faster, simpler and fairer for all.’

Last week, Labour Party pledged to eradicate elective waits over 18 weeks within five years, if they are elected on 4 July.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have said they would increase the number of GPs by 8,000.

A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Mark Coley 4 June, 2024 11:43 am

Why not just use an AI chat bot and a vending machine? The Two Ronnies were ahead of their time!

John O’Malley 4 June, 2024 12:42 pm

I don’t normally comment but this so inhumane. The treatment of acne is not just a matter of looking and giving a script which is what a pharmacist but also needs an emotional element. That is what takes the time for a GP. The prescribing takes seconds and has to go hand in hand with listening . I despair

Waseem Jerjes 4 June, 2024 9:43 pm

The Conservative Party’s proposal to expand the Pharmacy First scheme to include conditions such as acne and chest infections has sparked concerns about undermining the medical profession and putting patients at risk. By enabling pharmacists to treat more complex conditions without the same level of medical training as GPs, there is a danger of compromising the quality of patient care and safety. While the initiative aims to alleviate pressure on GP appointments, it raises questions about the adequacy of pharmacists’ training for these additional responsibilities and the potential for misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment, ultimately jeopardising patient health.