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CCG's 'bombshell': We're scrapping the minor ailments scheme

Hounslow CCG: Remove your minor ailments posters by May

Hounslow clinical commissioning group (CCG) will “terminate” the area’s pharmacy minor ailments scheme after five years of the service, C+D has learned.

The service will be scrapped from May 1 and “payment will not be authorised for any activity incurred after April 30”, the CCG said in a letter sent to local pharmacies last week, and seen by C+D.

In the letter, the CCG asked pharmacies to “ensure all minor ailments scheme posters are removed from display counters as of the [service’s] termination date”.

A spokesperson for Hounslow CCG told C+D yesterday (January 25) that there has been “very limited uptake” of the service since it was locally commissioned in 2011. 

A review of all the local services commissioned from Hounslow contractors revealed “around three patients a day” were making use of the service, with “the majority of activity coming from just two pharmacies”, the spokesperson added.

“The minor ailments scheme did not provide an equitable service for the total population of Hounslow,” the CCG concluded.

A "bombshell" for pharmacists

A pharmacist in the area – who wished to remain anonymous to avoid being singled out by the CCG – told C+D the decision had come as a “bombshell”.

“I have contacted several GPs in the area who all said they had no idea about this and [the scheme] lightens their workload considerably,” they added.

Hounslow CCG said it has “communicated the decision to GP practices”. The local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) “has been included in conversations, and has been invited to meet with CCG representatives to discuss” the decision, it added.

“Patients are, of course, still able to visit community pharmacies for healthcare advice about minor ailments, such as coughs and colds,” the CCG stressed.

“They are also encouraged to phone 111 for free.”

C+D has contacted the Middlesex Group of LPCs – which includes Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow LPC – for comment.

Last October, the government announced plans to encourage all CCGs to adopt locally commissioned minor ailment schemes by April 2018.

Is your local minor ailments scheme under threat?

max falconer, Superintendent Pharmacist

Unfortunately this is symptomatic of the malady facing community pharmacy.

The government is investing huge sums in pharmacists in GP  practices but NOT  in pharmacy as a separate entity.



Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

I have operated the service since 2004. The low uptake is due to lack of public awareness.

Dunns Chemist


Paul Skinner,

Whilst this shouldnt be used as a National Yardstick, it does seem to highlight yet again that community pharmacy needs more support in making sure that these MAS succeed.

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

Clearly no problem getting a GP appointment in Hounslow.

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

According to the Hounslow CCG, there has been “very limited uptake” of the service since it was locally commissioned in 2011 with “around three patients a day” making use of the service, with “the majority of activity coming from just two pharmacies”.

Not sure why the discontinuation is then described as a “bombshell”. What would have been surprising is if funding had continued for such a little used service. I don’t think you can blame the CCG in this case.

P M, Community pharmacist

LPS contracts are not being renewed in surrey - message is - we dont care ..

Snake Plissken, Student

Would it lighten the pharmacist workload if we started referring all customers to GPs? Would it be straw that breaks the camels back for surgeries or even A&E? Just a thought!

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