Rachel Carter speaks to Ismail Ahmed about Haden Vale Pharmacy's minor ailments service.

Name of pharmacy: Haden Vale Pharmacy, Cradley Heath, Birmingham.

Name of pharmacist: Ismail Ahmed.

Why did you start offering the service?

I started offering this service in 2010 to meet local demand.

How much did it cost to set up the service?

No set-up costs.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo?

There was an online course from the CPPE.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

First we have to check whether the patient is eligible - people are only eligible to receive this service if they currently have free prescriptions. The patient also needs to be presenting with a condition that is on the list of eligible conditions. The list is quite long, but the most common ones we see are: fever, cough, eye infection, nappy rash, vaginal thrush and threadworm.

If they are eligible to proceed with the service, we discuss the patient’s symptoms and then we can give them the appropriate medication from the PGD, without them needing to get a prescription or having to pay for it. We take the patient into the consultation room if they prefer to speak in private.

Finally, we record their details, what was discussed, what medication was given to them, and print a declaration for them to sign. We also submit the relevant information to PharmOutcomes, which is how we get paid.

We can offer a follow-up if requested, but it’s not part of the scheme.

Are there any opportunities to sell over the counter or prescription products during the consultation or after it?

Not as part of the service - because the products we give are listed for us to give. However, if a patient presents with ringworm, for example, and actually it’s a different condition, then we may be able to sell them something else.

Also, in some cases a patient may want a different medicine to what’s on the PGD, so they can purchase that over the counter instead.

How have patients responded to the service?

We don’t really get any feedback, but we do get people who come back to use the service again.

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service?

We probably see 10 to 15 patients on average each month.

How much do you charge for the service?

The service is free.

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service?

Monthly figures not available - we receive around £4.50 fee per consultation and reimbursement for the products.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

Yes - for a lot of people who can’t afford to pay for medicines, it saves them having to go to the doctors and the hassle of that. But also for the pharmacy, it’s another service that you are getting reimbursed for, so it’s good for business as well. It’s good for the patient and for the pharmacy.

Read more case studies on minor ailments services.