8 February 2024
Dunne welcomes launch of Pharmacy First services in South Shropshire

Former Health Minister, Philip Dunne MP, has welcomed the launch of the Government’s Pharmacy First approach, helping patients across South Shropshire to receive care more quickly through better use of our community pharmacies.

79 pharmacies across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin have signed up to Pharmacy First so far, which enables pharmacists to utilise more of their medical skills and training. This will mean that patients across South Shropshire can receive treatment for seven common health conditions from their local pharmacy without the need to visit a GP or have a prescription. 

Their pharmacist will be able to help with conditions include sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women. Following the assessment, the pharmacist can then supply the prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals, to treat the problem.

The new Pharmacy First approach will not only speed up access to essential care for patients, but also help to reduce pressure on local GP services by directing people to more appropriate places to be treated. Backed by up to £645 million, 95 per cent of pharmacies across England have opted-in so far, meaning that patients will be able to receive care more quickly without the need to wait for a GP appointment.

The Pharmacy First approach builds on the other measures outlined in the Primary Care Recovery Plan last spring, including tackling the 8am rush by giving GPs new digital tools and providing more GP staff and more appointments.

In combination, the Primary Care Recovery Plan aims to free up 10 million GP appointments a year by next winter, and give the public more choice in where and how they access care.

The Government has made strong progress on improving access to primary care including meeting its manifesto pledge to deliver 50 million additional GP appointments since 2019 and recruiting record numbers of doctors and nurses for the NHS.

Mr Dunne said:

“The pandemic put huge pressure on our NHS services here in South Shropshire and as we continue with our recovery, it is essential patients receive the care they need quickly and easily.

“The Government has launched the Pharmacy First approach, using the skills of our pharmacists to treat more people in the community without the need for a GP appointment – speeding up their own care as well as reducing pressure on local GP services.

“At least 79 pharmacies have signed up to Pharmacy First across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, ensuring that the local people have a broad choice and can access care. 

Photo: Philip Dunne MP at Cleobury Mortimer Pharmacy which has joined the Pharmacy First scheme this month