Cormac Tobin, managing director of Lloydspharmacy's parent company Celesio UK, said it is a “matter of common sense” to allow pharmacists to help relieve some of the pressure on the NHS through a nationally funded minor ailments scheme.
“We are yet to see [David Mowat] put his money where his mouth is,” he said today (January 12).
Allowing pharmacists to deal with minor ailments would “free up slots for doctors to deal with the more serious cases”, Mr Tobin explained. But “we only have vague promises and pilots” to suggest this could become a reality in England, he pointed out.
“Mr Mowat, we’re hiding in plain sight to help solve the hospital crisis,” he added.
Pharmacy's role in the winter crisis
Mr Tobin warned. that “our health service is at breaking point” and it is about to get worse.
However, many of the conditions associated with poor health over the winter period can be managed through community pharmacy, he added.
“Whether by monitoring blood pressure levels, checking people are using their inhalers correctly or just acting as a first port of call for general questions about their medication, pharmacy teams are open for business – accessible and available without an appointment."
Mr Tobin advised the pharmacy minister to commission the national minor ailments service from community pharmacy, “before it’s too late to make a difference”.
In yesterday’s (January 11) parliamentary debate, Mr Mowat reiterated his commitment to employing more “clinical pharmacists” in GP surgeries as a way to bring the two professions together and help relieve the pressure on the over-stretched health service.
Last month, the Murray review into pharmacy clinical services said the government's commitment to have minor ailments schemes commissioned locally across England by April 2018 "clearly needs to happen sooner."