Pharmacies 'could help out GPs'
Published on 21 November 2013 12:30 PM
Britain needs to follow in the footsteps of other European countries and allow pharmacies to offer additional services on site, it is claimed.
Conservative MP Ben Gummer believes doing so could help relieve some of the growing pressure weighing heavily on GPs nationwide.
He pointed to the fact that only 1 in 10 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) contracts the chemist to offer treatment.
Pharmacies could offer basic medical treatment
The general idea is that pharmacies would offer basic medical treatment, such as flu jabs or diabetes care, to patients.
'As is so often the case the provision of healthcare in this country is somewhat behind our European neighbours,' said Mr Gummer during a Commons debate in Westminster Hall.
'Because here you've got these highly qualified people who are actually centred where they can serve local populations and yet what they can't do in so many cases is offer the kind of medical services they could do very easily and relieve pressure on general practitioners and hospitals.'
'In fact the scale of things they could do is quite significant. Why can they not offer basic diabetic treatment? Or flu jabs?'
He highlighted examples in France, Germany and the Netherlands where pharmacies can offer additional services to patients.
Pharmacies are playing increasingly important role
Commenting on the matter, health minister Dan Poulter revealed the Government's reforms in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 allowed CCGs to contract out more services to pharmacies across the country.
'There is an increasingly important role that pharmacies are playing within our NHS,' he said.
'I think this is a real opportunity for pharmacists to bring forward to CCGs what they do and to make the case that actually they can provide many services in a way that can be focused on primary prevention and save the health economy locally money, but also deliver better care.'
A number of pharmacies are already providing additional services, which they are contracted to do so outside of current pricing frameworks at a local level by CCGs, health and wellbeing boards or local authorities.
Copyright Press Association 2013