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Government 'scared' of national minor ailments service

Kirit Patel: National agreement would avoid local confusion

The government’s reluctance to invest in a national minor ailments service is due to a fear of the NHS taking on the costs of popular over-the-counter medicines, says Kirit Patel.

EXCLUSIVE

The government is "scared" of commissioning a national minor ailments service because of its potential cost, Day Lewis chief executive Kirit Patel has claimed.


The government's reluctance to invest in a national version of the service was most likely due to a fear of the NHS taking on the costs of popular over-the-counter medicines, Mr Patel told C+D in an exclusive interview last week (September 24).


"My personal view is they're scared of the drugs budget being blown [on medications like] Benylin and paracetamol that people are buying privately, that would end up being on the NHS," said Mr Patel, who is also vice-chair of pharmacy negotiator PSNC.


Commissioning a large-scale pilot of the service would prove its benefits and "get rid of this fear the NHS treasury has", Mr Patel said. He suggested that LPC consortium Pharmacy London would be an "ideal petri dish" to trial the service because it had already delivered a successful flu vaccination scheme last winter.




"It's proved that local LPCs can work together, it's large enough and close enough to Westminster. I would focus on launching it there and proving it should be rolled out nationally within a year or two," he said.


If the sector did not organise a pilot on this scale then it would be talking about the possibility of a national minor ailments service "for the next 10 years", he stressed.


Confused commissioning

Having pharmacy services developed separately under different local commissioners had created an unnecessarily complex system, Mr Patel added. Agreeing services at a national level before they were commissioned in each locality would result in "better standards and less confusion", he said.


Last week, PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe told C+D that a national minor ailments service could have a "significant impact" on reducing pressures on GP surgeries and promised to highlight the potential benefits to NHS England and other policy makers.


The same week, C+D reported that the Welsh government's common minor ailments pilot had resulted in pharmacists conducting more than 1,700 consultations in under a year.



Why do you think the government has not invested in a national minor ailments scheme for England?

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17 Comments

Michael Stewart, Community pharmacist

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have national minor ailment schemes - there must be a wealth of data available to the DoH.

There are numerous MAS commissioned as local enhanced services around England.

Why bother with the DoH - negotiations between them and PSNC would take years. More successful would be a concerted effort by every LPC to get a local service commissioned. Local savings to GP time and freeing up appointments for more major ailments would reduce the pressures on primary care.

Oh - and can we try and stick to evidence based medicine - things like simple linctus or branded 'cough remedies' should not be seen anywhere near a MAS formulary.

Hayley Johnson, Community pharmacist

"Oh - and can we try and stick to evidence based medicine - things like simple linctus or branded 'cough remedies' should not be seen anywhere near a MAS formulary"

Words like this make me want to do a happy dance. The day we get such nonsense removed from pharmacy shelves altogether will be a joyful one indeed.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

This persists because DoH know they can get away with not paying us.This is simply not the case with Doctors, Nurses, etc.....

Brian Austen, Senior Management

He also shouldn't forget that it potentially saves GP time so they can concentrate on patients that need a doctor. This will improve patient access to appropriate care and will also save on the prescribing budget.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

You are absolutely right Ian and Brian.

The problem is not with the service or the funding, the problem is with our negotiators. If scotland and part of wales plus some councils in England can get funding then what is stopping from making it a national service?

If funding is justified in those areas, that means the service is justified and has definite advantages, plus savings to NHS. Is this not a simple enough factor to consider while negotiating? Do we really need one more Pilot to prove something that is already proven and being practised? This reminds me of the RESEARCH that was carried out to find out why mistakes happen in Pharmacy and found out it is stress !!!

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Hilarious

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Is there not a minor ailments scheme in Scotland? Does this not give some idea of the cost involved? Also, any scheme is surely to have strict restriction on who can access and what can be supplied - or am I bring too simplistic?

Ian Menzies, Community pharmacist

My understanding is that there is indeed such a scheme in Scotland and that it's not necessarily a new scheme. There must be a body of useabe data. Seems to me that if someone has a decent idea up there things move along much quicker than down here. Smaller scale perhaps or less burocracy/ purse-strngs. Not sure whether they have a lot to do with PSNC either. Perhaps what is needed in England is some form of local negociation - perhaps by some kind of ELECTED body(lies) who is (are) accountable to the contractors that they claim to represent.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

"" Pharmacy London would be an "ideal petri dish" to trial the service ""

Which laboratory are you referring to? Are Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge, Leytonstone etc not part of this Laboratory you want to try?? They are running the scheme for ages now.

[email protected], Pre-reg graduate

I just found out that, many of the Day Lewis Pharmacies already provide this service and enjoy a good revenue stream. So why is Mr. Patel not using the data to persuade the NHS? Why one more pilot for an existing service? Clueless !!

Old Timer, Manager

Benylin on minor ailments ,I think not ,a 100ml of Simple linctus at the best , does Mr Patel engage with the real world ?

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

This shows how out of touch our leaders are from the real world. And they want us to believe them !!!

Stuart Hill, Community pharmacist

Kirit man sit up and wake up. As the above comments are intimating for God sake realise who you are talking and pontificating to. We all know you are a titular pharmacist and have little concept of patient practice, patient management, altruism etc. Why not just for a change interact and canvass opinion for your workforce just like medics do and imagine something different from the dollar sign. Stop putting the profit ideology before patients and ideas that might work. You are a showman one step away from the Alan Sugar level that you aspire to. Corporation profiteering is your express desire. We require a change that is beyond the narrow, prescriptive parameters of the current debate, outside the fortress of our current pharmacy system & you Mr Patel are not the person to radicalise our needs. So stop this incessant, hackneyed approach and C&D for God sake put an end to elevating these people onto plinths.

Er Ds, Superintendent

agree with n.o
mr patel thinks hes talking to 16year olds

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"" I would focus on launching it there and proving it should be rolled out nationally within a year or two""

Why are you wasting time and money?? Can't you just take the outcomes from the areas which have been running this scheme successfully over the years? and then present it to the NHS?

Mr. Patel, with due respect, we are not some A level students/ some disillusioned voters (having no clue of what is going on). We are practising Pharmacists, who keep ourselves up-to-date with what is going on around us. Please act accordingly.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Again, Sir are kidding us?

Why are you telling the obvious? You have been chosen (by whoever) to represent these views to the government and get things implemented/ executed through Pharmacies. Why are you moaning like all of us who are not the powerful chair you occupy.

"""Commissioning a large-scale pilot of the service would prove its benefits and "get rid of this fear the NHS treasury has","""

Well the treasury is feared of the service .... they don't want to give us the money. The savings devil has hit everyone and we are an easy, harmless, un opposed targets in the NHS. Thanks to ........ you know who !!!

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Typo

1. are kidding us? -- should read "are YOU kidding us?

2. not the powerful chair -- should read "not IN the powerful chair"

3. treasury is feared -- should read " treasury is NOT feared"

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