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Devon pharmacy scheme saves 750 hours of GP time

Pharmacy teams saw more than 8,000 patients between November and March as part of the scheme, says Devon LPC

Devon LPC says its minor ailments and emergency supply scheme saved almost £42,000 for the local health economy in five months

Devon pharmacists saved more than 750 hours of GP time in the first five months of a government-funded minor ailments scheme, C+D has learned.

Pharmacy teams saw more than 8,000 patients between last November and March as part of the scheme, which included a winter ailments service, an emergency supply service and a minor ailments programme (see below), Devon LPC said in an evaluation of the initiative.

The consultations saved almost £42,000 for the local health economy, the LPC told C+D last week (June 29). This included saving GPs more than 465 regular working hours and more than 300 hours of out-of hours time, as well as 35 hours for A&E staff, the LPC said.

All of the 195 patients who completed a survey on the scheme said they were “happy with the service and would recommend it to friends and family”, the LPC said.

The scheme was funded by £168,000 from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, and the LPC told C+D it had already agreed a further £107,000 from the same fund to continue the scheme until the end of September.

Really positive results

Devon LPC chief officer Sue Taylor told C+D the results were “really positive” and she was in discussions with local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) about extending the service in the “longer term”.

“It’s really shown that pharmacy has got a place supporting self-care, and it’s demonstrated we’ll divert people away from other care providers when that’s appropriate,” she added.

LPC project pharmacist Mark Stone told C+D he thought the “strong” evaluation would secure the further pharmacy services for the area.

“The key saving for commissioners in a very pressurised environment is GP time. If this service is decommissioned, where do 5,000 GP appointments come from?” he said.

PSNC announced in May that it was negotiating a national minor ailments scheme.


How would patients in your area benefit from a scheme similar to Devon LPC's?

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London Locum, Locum pharmacist

That's nice for GP's .

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Let me say, I am all in favour of MA schemes but: The scheme saved £42,000 It was funded by £168,000 Am I missing something that if the scheme doesn't at least pay for itself, however indirectly, there is no way the CCG will continue to fund it

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Steve, have you read the whole document?? Have you ever been on any public health forum or done any public health module during your MPharm (or equivalent) ?? Simple mathematics would say that £42,000 was a net saving made to NHS, calculated to include the £168,000 for these services. Just imagine if these services were not in place and the patients approached one of the alternatives like GPs/ A&E/ OOH, the money NHS would be paying to these people for the time spent in dealing with these patients would be more than what it would have spent by directing them to a community Pharmacy. i.e £42,000 plus reduction in waiting times/ inconveniencing the patients or worst the patients not taking the medicine at all till they see their GP and then getting admitted in to the hospital. So what do you has happened??

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

It seems that it is a net saving in the report

Mark Stone, Community pharmacist

The Devon Pharmacy First evaluation of all three services can be found here: And yes totally agree the services should be commissioned by CCGs everywhere as they significantly reduce the burden on acute and emergency care providers. Thanks and well done to all our pharmacies that did an excellent job in providing the services to patients!

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Hi Mark, well done. Just a question -- I thought this service/s is/are available throughout the cornwall, devon and isle of scilly, is that not correct? Are there any such encouraging evaluations from these places? These evaluations can be used as strong evidence to promote these services in other areas too.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""""“The key saving for commissioners in a very pressurised environment is GP time. If this service is decommissioned, where do 5,000 GP appointments come from?”""""--------- Spot on !! This is a simple method of countering the GP shortage and people are still trying to innovate all other complicated methods.

Mitul Patel, Superintendent Pharmacist

lets get this rolled out to other areas!!

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