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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Scheme to cut pressure on GPs trialled in Millom

A SCHEME to reduce pressure on the valuable working hours of GPs is being trialled in Millom – and the results are encouraging.

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TEAM From back left, Vicky Minter, pharmacist Rachel Street, Carol Evans, Pat Brown and front, Karen Roskell and Catherine Mason, all of Rowland’s Pharmacy JON GRANGER REF: 50063469B001

The town’s struggle to recruit new doctors means managing the pressure on GPs is vital.

According to figures from NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, 70 per cent of urgent same-day appointment requests across the Furness locality could be managed by a pharmacy instead.

But the Community Pharmacy Minor Ailment Scheme aims to improve patient access to medication to treat minor ailments, while taking pressure off GP waiting times.

The pilot project has been allowing patients exempt from paying for their prescriptions to access a range of basic medicines to help them manage minor ailments such as coughs, colds, athlete’s foot, head lice, indigestion and sickness.

The scheme began on May 1 in Rowlands Pharmacy and Boots in Wellington Street, and in Murray’s Pharmacy in Barrow.

Rachel Street, pharmacy manager at Rowlands, said: “We have seen more than 20 people since it started. It is still building up because quite a lot of people still don’t know the service exists. A lot of the people we have seen would have made a GP appointment. It’s often for things we would discuss at the pharmacy, but people would then book a GP appointment afterwards.

“But for the people who do need to see a GP for an urgent appointment we can get them fast-tracked so we make sure patients are treated in the most appropriate way.”

Ms Street said patients seen under the scheme at Rowlands sought treatment for skin complaints, pain, minor infections, headlice and hayfever.

CCG Furness Locality will be monitoring both projects in Barrow and Millom and hold regular review meetings with the pharmacies and GPs. .

Dr Geoff Jolliffe, CCG lead GP for Furness, said: “If the pilot project is successful and beneficial to patients, we are aiming to develop the scheme with all the pharmacies in the Furness area and further afield improving patient access to medical treatment for minor ailments.”

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