Sunday 13 November 2016

Sore Throats To Be Tested By Pharmacists Instead Of GPs


Sore throat sufferers will visit their pharmacist instead of their GP for an on-the-spot test to see if they need antibiotics under a new NHS initiative.

The planned walk-in "sore throat test and treat" service will be rolled out across the country over the next year, after a six-month pilot project. It could help relieve pressure on family doctors and tackle antibiotic resistance, according to NHS England.

The sore throat test and treat service, which was piloted with 35 patients treated at Boots pharmacies, involves taking a swab test with results provided in five minutes to see if a course of antibiotics is needed.

The initiative could save the health service £35m a year and reduce GP consultations by as many as 800,000 if the scheme is taken up nationwide, according to NHS officials. About 1.2 million people visit their GP with sore throat symptoms every year.

The NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, said the scheme would be rolled out across the country over the course of the coming year and is one of eight medical innovations that will be introduced.

"Necessity is the mother of invention, and health care worldwide is now fizzing with smart innovation," Stevens said. "In the NHS, we're now taking practical action to develop and fast-track these new techniques into mainstream patient care."

The introduction of the new walk-in scheme follows news last month that the Department of Health had drawn up proposals to cut funding for pharmacies by 12% from December. The pharmaceutical services negotiating committee described the cuts as madness, and said they would damage the NHS and social care, the BBC reported.



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