Are pharmacies the answer to the NHS crisis?

The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours, and this number seems only set to rise. The total number of people visiting Accident & Emergency departments in 2017 was 23.372 million, which marks a rise of almost a quarter (23.5 per cent) over the last decade. NHS spending has also risen hugely in recent years. In 2017, net expenditure was £120.512 billion, which has increased from £78.881 billion in 2007.

It is clear from figures such as these that there is a huge amount of pressure on the NHS. This has led to a chronic access problem, meaning patients are having to wait for extended lengths of time to receive advice, diagnoses and treatment.

So what is the solution? Well, the National Pharmacy Association believes that the answer lies in placing more emphasis on pharmacies as a local healthcare service.

By allowing local pharmacies to flourish as centres of health and wellbeing for the surrounding community, the intense strain can be alleviated from the NHS as less people will rely on GPs and hospitals as a first port of call. This will also allow pharmacists to put their clinical skills to further use.

The See You Sooner campaign from the NPA aims to make this happen. They believe that local pharmacies should be people’s first and main contact for healthcare, dramatically improving access to treatment and advice.

What are the aims of ‘See You Sooner’?

The NPA’s See You Sooner campaign’s key aspirations are:

- There should be no unnecessary or avoidable barriers in place to receiving appropriate care in a timely fashion.

- No one should have to wait to see a doctor for the treatment of minor concerns like colds and coughs.

- People in all parts of the country should have the option to access health checks such as blood pressure at their local pharmacy. At the moment, there are only a few examples of commissioning health checks in local pharmacies.

- No one should have to wait to see a doctor for the routine management of their medicines for stable long term conditions. As an alternative, pharmacy workers should be fully supported in being able to understand, review and, if necessary, modify medicines as part of an integrated primary care team.

The aims of the NPA’s campaign are views shared by many NHS service users. In a survey of 1003 UK adults in March 2018 by RWB, 56 per cent of respondents agreed that NHS medicines review services in pharmacies should be expanded to help people with long term medical conditions to manage their medicines and to take pressure off the NHS. A further 35 per cent of respondents strongly agreed with this statement.

Online pharmacies provide immediate help and support

When we discuss the importance of local pharmacies, we can’t forget about the option of online pharmacies, which provide instant correspondence between healthcare professionals and individuals who may be unable to leave their home. Using an online pharmacy can provide convenient advice, diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of conditions, including those which patients may want to be treated more discreetly like hair loss or erectile dysfunction.

Express Pharmacy has been providing effective medication for a variety of conditions since 2009, and has now helped over 50,000 patients. Express Pharmacy also have a group of six NHS linked high street outlets in London, and each has a qualified pharmacist in-house.

If you’re in need of efficient and effective medical advice, contact the NHS-approved pharmacists at Express Pharmacy today. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online live chat service.