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Southwark patients are seeing their pharmacist first

Since its launch in April 2015, nearly 2000 people have used NHS Southwark CCG’s new Pharmacy First scheme. The Pharmacy First scheme offers quick and local access to advice and treatment from the pharmacist at your local pharmacy about common illnesses. You don't need to wait to see your doctor and you don't need an appointment. If you don't pay for your prescriptions the pharmacist will be able to give you medicines to treat a range of common illnesses and conditions.

Hay fever, headache, raised temperature and cold and flu were the top reasons for people seeking advice and treatment in the first three months. 46 per cent of patients were aged under 13 and 35 per cent between the ages of 20-59. 87 per cent of patients would have attended their GP, A&E or walk in centre if the service hadn’t been there.

Dr Sian Howell, Southwark GP and CCG lead for primary care development said: “We’re really pleased with the take up of the Pharmacy First scheme; it shows that there is a need for people to be able to get advice quickly and conveniently for minor illnesses and conditions, knowing that they can get free treatment if they don’t pay for prescriptions.

“Pharmacy First is an important part of our aim to help people to get the right care in the right place and reduce pressure on GPs and urgent care services for people who really need them.”

Jayesh Patel, Chief Executive Officer of Southwark’s Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “People are increasingly aware of the benefits of seeking advice and treatment from their local pharmacist. Pharmacists are highly trained specialists in medicines, you don’t need to travel far to find your nearest pharmacy and you can pop in at any time.”

Most pharmacies in Southwark offer the scheme. Details of which ones and a list of the conditions and illnesses covered are available on the Pharmacy First page.