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Lloydspharmacy launches £4.99 sore throat service in 600 branches

Pharmacists will also be able to prescribe antibiotics where necessary under a PGD
Pharmacists will also be able to prescribe antibiotics where necessary under a PGD

Lloydspharmacy has launched a private sore throat service costing patients £4.99 in 600 stores across Great Britain.

The service is available now in selected pharmacies across England, Scotland and Wales to patients aged over 18, the multiple said yesterday (November 19).  

The on-the-spot service is delivered by pharmacists and takes “a few minutes”, involving a questionnaire, physical examination and mouth swab test, it added.

Pharmacists will also be able to prescribe antibiotics where necessary under a patient group direction, charging patients an additional £8.80, Lloydspharmacy told C+D.

Pharmacies can also offer advice and over-the-counter products to patients who do not require antibiotics, it continued.

Pharmacists have undergone e-learning and face-to-face training to deliver the service, including the swab tests, which Lloydspharmacy claimed offer 98% accuracy in detecting Streptococcus group A.

They are liaising with their local GP surgeries, aiming to “relieve the burden on already stretched GP services”, Lloydspharmacy said.

The service allows pharmacies to “demonstrate the important role they can play” in “appropriate” antibiotic prescribing, while supporting self-care, the multiple continued.

C+D reported in May that 70 pharmacies in Wales were taking part in a sore throat pilot, and that last year up to 200 UK pharmacies were providing a ‘test and treat’ sore throat service, with many using it to help offset the funding cuts in England.

NHS England announced in 2016 it was backing a sore throat swab service in pharmacies – first piloted by Boots in 2014 – to relieve pressure on the NHS, free-up GP appointments, and tackle antibiotic resistance.

Would you like to offer a private sore throat service?

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

On top of everything else ! anti microbial guardian one minute then on the other hand this service with no proven data that it is wothwhile , just another money making scheme from pharmacist's who no better than snake oil salesperson. SHAME on the profession.

At least can go off sick for a few days after someone as breathed their germs onto you as you take a swab!

H W, Community pharmacist

pharmacists aren't allowed sick days

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Will they be charging the over 60's £8.80 for a prescription too? I would think alot of them would get the £4.99 test done and then go back to the surgery to ask for a prescription because it would be free...

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

The pricing helps to reaffirm the plummetting respect from the public.

Really? Wow, Superintendent Pharmacist

Joke pricing 

Delectable Skeptic, Community pharmacist

£4.99?  Really?  The race to the bottom continues.  Pack of 20 with delivery works out at £2.58 (+ VAT) per test from the company.  Not much profit considering training, time, risk of out of date stock...

H W, Community pharmacist

£4.99 for a walk in service designed to replace a GP appointment is sickeningly low and I would not dream of allowing my time to be devalued to that level. I'd suggest pharmacists refuse to supply such a service but, like the previous poster said, it's a race to the bottom now in nearly every single aspect. Can you imagine doctors or dentists behaving in such a manner towards each other?

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I agree but the challenge is that patients here are used to free healthcare, so any new service, in order to be successful, needs to be priced without scaring people off. Too low and you devalue the service; too high and patients just continue going to the GP. I wonder what market research was done to estimate potential uptake? 

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