Pharmacists could help reduce GP workloads by 20%, saving the NHS millions of pounds every year, according to Steve Churton, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB).
Addressing delegates at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester last week, RPSGB President Steve Churton said: "Every year, patients with minor ailments generate over 50 million GP consultations: that's almost 20% of doctors' workloads, costing the NHS more than £1.5bn.
"There is absolutely no reason why such consultations could not be handled by pharmacists, releasing an hour a day for every GP in the country to see patients with more complex needs.
"The government white paper, Pharmacy in England: building on strengths – delivering the future, is what the profession has been waiting for.
"It lays out plans for community pharmacies as healthy living centres – delivering minor ailment services, screening for vascular disease and sexually transmitted infections and providing more support to people with long-term conditions – with routine check-ups and monitoring available on a drop-in basis."
"Any matters that pharmacists undertake will have to be commissioned by PCTs for a fee. PCTs appear to be suffering from a sharp increase in spending as a result of the drive to 18-week waiting so from where will the money come to commission such services? This is the same white paper that threatens the future of dispensing doctors by changing the 'one-mile' rule. Coming on top of the perceived threat from GP-led health centres, is it likely that GPs will support something that takes away their income?" – Name and address withheld