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Superdrug launches free sore throat service in more than 200 branches

The service includes a swab test if a bacterial infection is suspected
The service includes a swab test if a bacterial infection is suspected

Superdrug has launched a free sore throat service in more than 200 of its pharmacies across the UK, the multiple has confirmed.

The 10-minute consultation service is delivered by a pharmacist and includes an initial assessment, a questionnaire, and a throat examination. All Superdrug pharmacists have been trained to offer the service, which includes a swab test if a bacterial infection is suspected, the company said.

The pharmacist will refer patients to a GP if the swab test reveals a bacterial infection and the patient requires further treatment. They can also recommend “alternative treatment options” if antibiotics are not needed.

The service will be “entirely free” to customers “at any of our 200+ pharmacies” until February 26, 2019, and will be subject to the availability of a pharmacist, Superdrug added.

“Reducing pressure on GPs”

Superdrug told C+D the service will help “reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and reduce their unnecessary use of antibiotics”.

“As an accessible pharmacy chain, we believe it’s important to provide our patients with the information they need to make the most informed decision about their healthcare,” the multiple added.

Last month, Lloydspharmacy launched a £4.99 private sore throat consultation service in 600 of its stores in Great Britain.

Could you offer a free sore throat service in your pharmacy?

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

yet another STUPID decision made by very STUPID people

Leroy Jackson, Community pharmacist

From the idiots that brought you this brainwave...

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

What are the targets? 400 per annum no question. No one comes asking for the service ? Irrelevant, 400 per annum or a performance review. I love community pharmacy.

Phil Goddard, Community pharmacist

And I thought Lloyds were too cheap.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Hilarious. Aren’t some colleagues proposing to charge for this. Absolute farce of a ‘profession’

Why is it my resposibility as a pharmacist to "reduce pressure on GP's"?  What are they doing to help reduce pressure on us pharmacists? I am getting sick and tired of this notion that we should be taking steps to make life easier on GPs. If GP's are finding their jobs difficult, that is their issue. Let them quit if they're that pressured. Why should I spend 10 minutes of my time swabbing a patient's throat to check if they need to see a GP or not? since when is swabbing part of this procedure anyway? also, am I being paid for this service? At least let us prescribe abx if we're going through this test procedure and we better get paid for it. We pharmacists need to get together to stop this blatant disrespect to us, we're being treated as accessory healthcare professionals. On a daily basis, I am seeing our profession going downhill and these useless big chains like superdrug are playing a big part in that.

Richard Binns, Primary care pharmacist

just to set my stall out here, I am completley pro bricks and mortar pharmacy and anti online (p2u etc). The way I see it is the key argument for the traditional high street pharmacy is patient access to health care advice without an appointment, hence releaving pressure on other areas of the NHS. For any community pharmacist to be arguing that this is not in their remit is playing straight into the governments argument that the current funding model for meds supply is not value for money and should be swapped for a 'Amazon' model. don't indirectley support the funding cuts to the sector by talking down the important clinical role you play as a patient-facing healthcare professional.

With respect, I think you missread my position. My main problem is with this ridiculous notion that we as pharmacists should be reducing pressure on GP's. There is much subtle and even sometimes overt disrespect to our profession. I am all for more clinical responsiblities, BUT, proper responsibilities, i.e let us have access to full patient records and let us prescribe if we're doing such services as swabbing, also, let us be well paid for it. This swabbing being talked about in this article is nothing for us to be happy about. It's just silly. On top of everything else we have to do nowadays, here is another mundane task. I think it's time for us pharmacist to start taking our proper place in the prescribing scene. We all know that the vast majority of these issues we always reffer patients to the GP's for we could easily deal with ourselelves!

Richard Binns, Primary care pharmacist

That said, I agree with most of the comments here that this service is bordeline farcical as it stands!

Super Locum,

How on earth is the poor pharmacist expected to fit in these 10min consultations on top of everything else. My experience is that in this chain the pharmacist is often left alone to cover the counter as well as the dispensary. So I can imagine now the whole pharmacist being without any visible staff!

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Get on with it. Need 400 completed by 31st March 2019 !

Aldosterone antagonist, Locum pharmacist

Not just that, if that same patient of theirs' is eligible for an MUR and if the pharmacist does carry out an MUR on top of the throat swab, they should get a 'combo bonus' payment along with the individual renumeration, hahaha.

(Only joking)

These targets are getting a bit silly I guess

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Utterly bonkers to do this for free. Pharmacists will never be valued unless we value ourselves.

RS Pharmacist, Primary care pharmacist

I disagree with this service in so many levels, but my top two are:

1. More free services! Have we not learnt our lesson – ridiculous.

2. Antibiotic Stewardship – now every patient who has a positive swab (for a bug) will turn up to their GP practice demanding antibiotics. How will this reduce GP workload/pressure?Also we need to reduce abx use, lots of studies have been done, showing that taking abx will/may reduce the duration of the condition depending on the condition being treated on average of 8-24 hours sooner that without abx.

Aldosterone antagonist, Locum pharmacist

Spot on regarding the antibiotic stewardship!

Dave Downham, Manager


Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

BTW Does anybody believe GPs take a swab before prescribing antibiotics?

Caroline Jones, Community pharmacist

They should do.....

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I don't quite know where to begin in my frustration with this. Fair enough to be free to the patint IF IT IS AN NHS COMMISSIONED SERVICE but, while trumpeting about "antibiotic stewardship" and "reducing pressures on GPs" you are PAYING to support the NHS. And NOT ONE person at DOH (or whatever they call themselces these days) will think "Good old Pharmcy, helping reduce pressures on GP" but EVERYONE will think "Goodness me, Pharmacy must still be making lots of profit to enable it to provide a service via it's most expensive asset FREE OF CHARGE. I've got an idea - let's cut their funding again". Unbelievable!!!

Daniel Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

In the next announcement we must surely be expecting a pharmacy group to pay the patient for a strep throat test!

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Just imagine the hordes, the footfall, and targets will be a doddle.

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager


OH PLEEEASE .. THIS IS A COMMERCIAL DECISION......LINK SELL LOZENGES ETC ETC TO RECOVER COST OF CONSULTATION........They can also recommend “alternative treatment options” if antibiotics are not needed.... SAYS IT ALL


C A, Community pharmacist

Link selling strepsils at £3.50 will never recoup 10 minutes of pharamcist time... unless head office thinks we all sit on our backsides drinking tea all day!

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

depends on cost of their time. What is it for one hour currently ? £15

Sue Per, Locum pharmacist

Spot on, Link Sales, Publicity, plus exposure to their other merchandise, whilst in store, waiting to see the pharmacist, Should have offered on a PGD, with a nominal charge for supply via a limited range of antibiotics.Hope it never gets comissioned, otherwise every other person will be dragged into the consultaion rooms, to squeeze the "Nearly Dry" udders of the sacred NHS cow. to reach the sky high targets, set by the mercenary corporate multiples,  with the aim of fillings their coffers!!   

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

You’re dead right Sue. Doddery old pensioners being marched into the consultation room to open wide, after their essential MUR of course.

Delectable Skeptic, Community pharmacist

The race to the bottom has been won!


*face palm*

R A, Community pharmacist

I was going to say that just after reading the headline, you beat me to it!

C A, Community pharmacist

Remember when Tesco announce it had won the Baked Bean wars with 1p baked beans? Well somebody sold beans at negative 2p! Pharmacy seems to want to repeat that feat!!

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