The launch of a new NHS Pharmacy First service in Scotland is hoped to take pressure off A&E departments in hospitals, which are currently very busy, with the local health authority issuing a plea last week for patients to consider other options, and to expect lengthier waiting times if they don’t.
Local MSP Christine Grahame welcomed the launch of the new service, saying it will allow community pharmacies to give people expert help for treating conditions such as sore throats, earache and cold sores, along with common clinical conditions such as urinary tract infections.
Pharmacy teams will offer advice, treatment or referral to other healthcare teams if required.
Ms Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, said: “The launch of NHS Pharmacy First Scotland means that people in the Borders, and across Scotland, will get the right care and medical support closer to home – often with no waiting time or appointments needed.
“In recent months, perhaps more than ever, the NHS has been there to protect us – but many of us don’t need to visit A&E to get the care we need. This new service will provide a local approach to ensure the community has access to healthcare for more minor ailments.
“Let’s remember though – in an emergency you should always contact 999 or go to your nearest accident and emergency department.”
The chairman of Community Pharmacy Scotland, Martin Green said: “Pharmacists, supported by their pharmacy teams, will be able to offer consultations for anyone with minor illnesses and provide the appropriate advice and support.”