The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has proposed that community pharmacies could save the NHS over £1 billion per year. This assertion is endorsed by research from Pharmacy Research UK published earlier this year and led by the University of Aberdeen. Common ailment schemes and minor ailment centres operating in community pharmacies could, potentially, cut the number of accident and emergency visits by 650,000 and reduce avoidable GP consultations by 18 million per year.
Treating common illnesses at pharmacies ‘could save NHS £1bn’. London: BBC Health News, October 19th 2014.
“The cost of treating common ailments in community pharmacies was found to be £29.30 per patient. The cost of treating the same problems at A&E was found to be nearly five times higher at £147.09 per patient and nearly three times higher at GP practices at £82.34 per patient. Overall, the study estimates that 3% of all A&E consultations and 5.5% of GP consultations for common ailments could be managed in community pharmacies”.
Note: Hindsight is always 20:20. How many patients know in practice, at the time, into which category they fall?
Pharmacists could save the NHS 1.1billion by treating common ailments. London [Online]: Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), October 19th 2014.
This relates to:
Final Report to Pharmacy Research UK: Community Pharmacy Management of Minor Illness. London: Pharmacy Research UK, January 2014.
Feeling Under the Weather: Head for a Pharmacy (NHS England)
The “Feeling Under the Weather?” NHS national public awareness campaign aims to persuade people to seek advice from their local pharmacists early, when under the weather. Older people particularly, and people with existing respiratory conditions, are advised to nip health problems “in the bud” in this way.
Top doctors urge people not to store up health problems if “feeling under the weather”. London [Online]: NHS England, October 31st 2014.
There is a Feeling under the weather? website (aka “asap”) available via NHS Choices.