LloydsPharmacy has launched a national sore throat service, Celesio has said.

Celesio announced yesterday (19 November) that a new £4.99 service will be made available in 600 LloydsPharmacy stores to identify strep throat infections in a bid to ease GP pressure and help reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

This comes as NHS Wales announced last week (16 November) the launch of an on-the-spot sore throat swab service in 48 community pharmacies to encourage patients to visit their pharmacist first for minor ailments.


Walk-in service


According to Celesio, the walk-in service will be available for any adults over the age of 18. It will include a questionnaire, examination and a mouth swab to test for the bacterial throat infection.

Patients testing positive for strep A (group A streptococcal) and meeting the criteria set in the patient group direction (PGD) guidelines will be given antibiotics in the pharmacy. For those not requiring antibiotics, the pharmacist will suggest relevant over-the-counter (OTC) products and give advice on how to relief symptoms.


‘Opportunity to relieve GP burden’


Celesio argued that the scheme is an ‘opportunity to help relieve the burden on stretched GP services,’ given the rising pressures on NHS services and resources in the winter season.

Pharmacist Pareena Patel, who works at LloydsPharmacy Rubery, Worcestershire, said: ‘Around 85% of sore throats are viral and so aren’t treatable by antibiotics.

‘Almost a third of people still visit their GP with a sore throat yet the vast majority would be better off seeing a pharmacist as it’s a condition that requires rest, OTC medications to help manage symptoms and antibiotics, if appropriate, all of which can now be provided in pharmacy.’