MEL Stride, MP for Central Devon, has welcomed the launch of the Conservative Government’s Pharmacy First approach, helping patients across Central Devon to receive care more quickly through better use of our community pharmacies.

A total of 202 pharmacies in Devon have signed up to Pharmacy First so far, which enables pharmacists to utilise more of their medical skills and training. 

These pharmacists will be able to help with conditions including 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 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.

The Conservative 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.

By sticking to the plan, the Government is delivering on the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut NHS waiting lists, delivering more care in the community and ensuring that patients receive the care they need, when they need it.

Commenting, Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon and Secretary of State for Department of Work and Pensions, said: “The pandemic put huge pressure on our NHS services here in Central Devon and as we continue with our recovery, it is essential that patients receive the care they need quickly and easily.

“That is why I am delighted that the Conservative 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 202 pharmacies have signed up to Pharmacy First across Devon ensuring that local people can access care. 

“We are sticking with the plan to improve access to care and cut NHS waiting lists, delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority so that that everyone can access the treatment they need.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP said: “I’m determined to deliver faster, simpler, fairer access to care for patients, and the expansion of Pharmacy First will mean patients can get treatment for common conditions without needing to see their GP first.

“This is good news for patients and good news for the NHS. It will free up millions of GP appointments per year and mean that patients can get quick and effective treatment from their local pharmacy.

“As four in five people live within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, for many seeing their local pharmacist will be the easiest option – so this initiative will have real benefits for patients and help cut NHS waiting lists.”