Chemist & Druggist is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC’s registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. Please do not redistribute without permission. Printed by #UserName#, #Company_Name#

Printed By


James Waldron: ailing England must catch up

The Welsh national common ailments service reflects badly on England, says James Waldron

Do you ever get the sense that the United Kingdom isn’t so united? I’m not talking culturally or economically (although the debate around the Scottish referendum suggested that both are true to an extent), but rather in terms of how each government views its pharmacists.

This was brought home to me on Monday when the Welsh government gave the green light for every pharmacy in the country to deliver a common ailments service, with the initiative due to roll out later this year.

With England now the only country lacking a nationwide minor ailments service, National Pharmacy Association chair Ian Strachan was right to point out that the announcement has left the nation “isolated”. After all, Northern Ireland and Scotland have been running similar schemes for a decade (these launched in 2005 and 2006 respectively).

I don’t mean to detract from Community Pharmacy Wales’ justified sense of triumph – moments like this should be a cause of celebration for pharmacist colleagues across the UK. Welsh pharmacy bodies have long been trumpeting the potential of a national minor ailments scheme, an ambition that was given renewed hope last summer after a government review of a pilot across two health boards concluded that it could provide a “positive return on investment”.

Wales’ progressive Choose Pharmacy scheme doesn’t end with pharmacists treating patients for hayfever and headlice. The other key benefit of the scheme is one that must surely top every English pharmacist’s wishlist: access to GP and hospital patient records, plus the ability to share consultation information electronically, courtesy of a new £750,000 IT system.

The money for this IT investment has been sourced from the Welsh government’s “efficiency through technology” fund. The name speaks volumes about how the country intends to use community pharmacy. While Wales seems to understand intuitively that financing new technology for pharmacists will create efficiencies elsewhere in the health service, England remains obsessed with the quick fix of cutting costs by switching to hub-and-spoke dispensing.

More than anything else, a national minor ailments service is a vote of confidence by politicians in the profession’s future. In England, sadly, it seems that confidence is still lacking.

James Waldron is editor of C+D. Email him at [email protected] or contact him on Twitter at @CandDJamesW

How much faith do you have in the politicians in charge of pharmacy in England? 

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

Pre-reg Trainee

Tonbridge, Kent

 Salary: £22,000

Apply Now



Ask The Analyst

Please Note: You can also Click below Link for Ask the Analyst
Ask The Analyst

Thank you for submitting your question. We will respond to you within 2 business days. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts