A programme encouraging people to visit pharmacy for advice and treatment for minor ailments is being rolled out across North Wales after a successful pilot.

The Common Ailment Scheme (CAS) was trialled among 19 pharmacies in Gwynedd for two years. It is now being extended throughout the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) area.

It is the first health board in Wales to run the scheme in all its pharmacies, which serve a population of around 678,000 people across six counties.

The pilot was aimed at promoting pharmacy and getting patients to seek treatment from their local pharmacy for minor complaints like hay fever, head lice and thrush.

CAS forms part of the Wales-wide Choose Pharmacy initiative, launched earlier this year to direct patients to appropriate services for their health concerns.

As part of that scheme, pharmacies across the country can access summary care records and conduct follow-up consultations when a patient is discharged from hospital.

Building on Choose Pharmacy, CAS is expected to increase patient engagement with pharmacy and promote the range of health and wellbeing services community pharmacy can provide.

BCUHB’s Locality Team Leader in the West, Sera Roberts, said: “We are very pleased to be able to roll this out further and be able to offer the service to more patients.

“Pharmacists have the skills and knowledge to be able to support patients with minor illness and the Choose Pharmacy scheme will enable them to do just that.

“Anything we can do to ease the burden on our local GPs, whilst delivering timely and prudent advice to patients can only serve to benefit us all.”

Roll-out is due to be completed by March 2017.