CHESHIRE patients can now get treatment for seven common conditions at their high street pharmacy.

As part of a major transformation in NHS care delivery, 95 per cent of community pharmacies across Cheshire and Merseyside will now be offering treatment for several conditions.

Pharmacists will be able to assess and treat patients for:

  • sinusitis;
  • sore throat;
  • earache;
  • infected insect bites;
  • impetigo;
  • shingles;
  • and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

This new initiative, known as Pharmacy First, is hoped to make things easier and more convenient for people to access care as a 'key' part of the government’s primary care access recovery plan.

The Pharmacy First service will be available to patients on referral by their GP practice, NHS 111, and NHS Walk-in Centres/Urgent Treatment Centres – as well as by contacting their pharmacy directly.

Susanne Lynch, chief pharmacist for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said: "I’m really pleased the vast majority of pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside have chosen to take part in the Pharmacy First scheme, in order to help deliver improvements in care for patients.

"Community pharmacies are already delivering more than 10,000 patient interventions in a high street pharmacy setting each month in Cheshire and Merseyside, and this service will significantly expand that offer.

"Our pharmacy teams are working hard to build these new services into their daily workload, and we hope that members of the public will take full advantage of the offer as a fast and convenient way to access treatment for these conditions."

The Pharmacy First scheme will build on existing patient services for treating minor conditions currently available, as well as blood pressure testing and oral contraception services which were made available in more community pharmacies from the end of last year.

Karen O’Brien, chief pharmacist for NHS England, North West, added: “Community pharmacy colleagues already play a vital role in keeping local communities healthy and well, and now under this new service they can do even more.

"Each pharmacy has a private consultation room, highly trained pharmacists and support staff who can see and treat patients, and if appropriate offer medication.

"Although the service launches from today, it will take some time for pharmacies and the public to get used to this new way of working, so I ask that people be patient and support our teams as much as possible."