Barton Family Practice News – April 2024

Posted by: andreaf - Posted on:

The Pharmacy First Service is a new NHS initiative to allow patients to access treatment for seven common conditions from a community pharmacist. The aim is to increase the number of available options for people to get treatment and therefore reduce the pressure on GP surgeries. The conditions that can now be treated by a pharmacist are acute sinusitis, shingles, infected insect bites, impetigo, acute sore throat, acute otitis media and urinary tract infections in women (UTI). For clarity, acute means recently started and chronic means started some time ago, usually 6 weeks. The service is being heavily promoted by the NHS, and you will be advised by the receptionist if you should contact a community pharmacist. Not all cases of these conditions are suitable for the community pharmacist, and there are clear guidelines for which cases are suitable and protocols for pharmacists to follow. For example, patients with acute sinusitis must be 12 years old and have had symptoms for 10 or more days with no improvement, shingles cases must be over 18 years old, acute sore throat cases must be over 5 years old and have at least 4 out of five criteria – fever, pus on tonsils, inflamed tonsils, onset in the last 3 days and no cough. For infected insect bites, the bite must have occurred at least 48 hours earlier. Patients with acute otitis media must be between 1-17 years old with symptoms that may include earache, discharge, itchiness, pressure feeling in the ear or pulling on the ear. Do remember that most acute otitis media resolves with simple pain killers. Women aged 16-64 years with symptoms of a mild UTI are suitable, but men with suspected UTI are not. We would encourage everyone to use this service when it is a suitable option, although you will still be seen by a clinician in the surgery if you prefer.

Have you registered online for Patient Access or downloaded the app? We would recommend doing so. Patient Access provides access to your health records, useful information about medical conditions and available local services. It is another way of ordering repeat prescriptions and accessing your pharmacy. It has information on many different health topics written by GPs. If you have the NHS app you can also login using your NHS login. Medication Assistant is a useful feature that enables Patient Access to send tailored medication information via email to you based on your current medication and medical conditions.

Best wishes, as always, from Team Barton.