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Well launches digital pharmacist consultations with Push Doctor

Well pharmacists are offering video consultations for patients with minor ailments
Well pharmacists are offering video consultations for patients with minor ailments

Well Pharmacy has partnered with online GP provider Push Doctor to launch a pharmacist-led digital consultation service for minor ailments.

The service – which Well claims is “the country’s first pharmacy-first digital service” – will be initially trialled as a pilot across four GP practices in the Plymouth Sound primary care network (PCN), letting more than 50,000 patients consult a Well pharmacist online.

Patients who access the Push Doctor platform with minor ailment concerns can book an online consultation with a Well pharmacist “at a time that suits them”, the multiple said in a joint press release with Push Doctor published today (February 1).

The service has the potential of freeing up GP appointments “for those with serious or chronic health issues”, the companies added.

If the pilot is successful, more GP surgeries will start offering digital pharmacist consultations and Well expects it will need to recruit more “clinical” pharmacists as the service develops, the multiple said.

In a statement today, Well Pharmacy CEO Seb Hobbs said: “Through this partnership with Push Doctor we will demonstrate the central role pharmacists can play in providing primary care, prompting a shift towards a pharmacy-first patient mindset.

“The partnership provides an amazing opportunity for us to increase patient access to pharmacy services and ensure that they can fully leverage the expertise of these highly trained clinicians.”

Well’s “clinical” pharmacists also collaborate with GPs in Warrington PCN, where they share their expertise to work on “medication reviews, long-term condition reviews and support for discharge letters and regular care home ward rounds”, the multiple said.

C+D has asked Well for more details of the pilot.

Last year, Boots trialled an online pharmacy video consultation service with digital healthcare provider LIVI, following a pilot in two Boots branches. Patients self-isolating due to COVID-19 could access a Boots pharmacist via the LIVI app for a face-to-face chat about their medicines and for general advice, the multiple explained at the time.

Would your pharmacy consider offering virtual consultations?

TC PA, Community pharmacist

Isn't this what CPCS is supposed to be for, minor ailments referrals from 111 and GPs? Why is a private GP service involved? Shouldn't the PCN be encouraging more use of CPCS rather than this system which would seemingly bypass a patient's nominated pharmacy in favour of Well?

I must be missing something 

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

My only issue with virtual consultations is when a prescription is required - prescribers don't get it that an email is not a valid prescription.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

That's the least of the worries pharmacy has right now but point taken. 

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

More freebies and we expect DoH to agree for a better funding? Why WELL why you do this?

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

And you expect Amazon to tread carefully when they eventually arrive ? As I've said before pharmacy bodies and employers currently show disdain for pharmacists and have done for years. So why exactly would you expect Amazon et al to enter the market and not crush all and sundry. Absolute madness but all well deserved as you only reap why you sow. 

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