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Welsh pharmacies to be consulted over ‘phone first' A&E approach

The Welsh government will be “engaging with key stakeholders, including pharmacies”
The Welsh government will be “engaging with key stakeholders, including pharmacies”

Community pharmacies in Wales will be consulted about plans to ask patients to “phone first” before attending A&E this winter, the Welsh Government has said.

The “phone first” concept is part of preparations for supporting emergency care services to manage winter pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the government’s draft plan, the strategy will be targeted at patients who could be safely assessed elsewhere, to ensure people receive care in the right place and to help enable social distancing in A&E departments.

The plan sets out six key goals for supporting urgent and emergency care services during winter 2020-21, including a number of key actions to be taken.

This includes health boards delivering the pharmacy-based common ailments service, and the Choose Pharmacy NHS electronic records system that underpins it.

This will ensure patients can access timely and appropriate treatment from their local pharmacy and help prevent the need for patients to go to hospital, the plan said.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said last week (June 26) that it is “working alongside NHS Wales in the initial stages of exploring a ‘phone first’ concept”.

The government will “be engaging with the public and other key stakeholders, including pharmacies and other primary and community services, over the coming weeks as part of this work,” the spokesperson added. 

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