Service type: Minor Ailment Service or Pharmacy First
Name and location of pharmacy: Willand Pharmacy, Willand, Devon
Name of pharmacist: Cristina Alonso-Sanchez, manager and pharmacy owner
When did you start offering this service?
The Pharmacy First updated version of the service started in November last year, but we have been offering a Minor Ailments Service at Willand Pharmacy since 2017.
Why did you start offering this service?
I think that being able to help patients with minor ailments is a way of adding value to our role as a community pharmacy. Pharmacists are the only healthcare professionals that patients can see without an appointment, and this service allows us to provide healthcare involving some Prescription Only Medicines for certain conditions without our patients having to get in touch with their GP. The idea behind the service is to take the pressure off GP surgeries and A&E, and this is now more important than ever, as GPs are very busy at the moment and patients sometimes have to wait a long time to be seen.
How much did it cost to set up the service?
The service as such doesn’t have set-up costs – it’s only the time of the pharmacist(s) to train up, read all the relevant information and set up the service with the local commissioner.
What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo?
The pharmacists who are offering the service had to do a CPPE online course and assessment, read all the relevant information and sign a declaration of competence.
In a nutshell, what does the service involve?
Our Pharmacy First offering covers four services: the administration of antibiotics for the treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infections for women under 65; the administration of antibacterial cream for the treatment of impetigo; the administration of Timodine cream for the treatment of infected nappy rash; and the supply of antibiotic eye drops to treat bacterial conjunctivitis for patients between 1 and 2 years of age. The patient has to have a consultation with the pharmacist where we check if they are eligible to receive the service under this PGD.
Are there any opportunities to sell OTC or prescription products during or after the consultation?
This service is not intended for the sale of OTC products – it is meant for the supply of Prescription Only Medicines and the provision of pharmaceutical advice. However, there is always a chance that the patient wants to purchase something else from the counter to help manage their symptoms.
How have patients responded to the service?
It has taken a while for our customers to be aware that we offer this service, and there is still a long way to go, but it is now building up slowly. When we do see patients for the service, they are normally very grateful to receive treatment so quickly and effectively. I think it gives them peace of mind to know that the pharmacy is available and ready to help when they need it.
Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service?
At the moment we are only seeing a few patients a month, but it is growing.
How much do you charge for the service?
The patient only pays for this service if they pay for their prescriptions, so in the same way, if somebody gets their prescriptions for free, this service is free for them too. If they pay for their prescriptions, it is the same as an NHS charge, which at the moment is £9.15.
Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service?
The NHS pays for the cost of the medicine and a £10 dispensing fee. The amount we get a month varies from one month to another, depending on how many patients we see for the service.
Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?
Yes I would, if there is demand in the area. It takes off pressure from other healthcare professionals, and adds value to our work as pharmacists.