Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Common and minor ailment services

Interim report reveals 'positive outcomes' from Welsh common ailment service

An interim report on the Welsh common ailment service reveals the findings from a pilot scheme that has been running in 32 pharmacies.

Conjunctivitis, vaginal thrush, hay fever and head lice have been the conditions most commonly treated through the Welsh common ailment service (CAS)

Source: Shutterstock.com

Conjunctivitis accounted for 174 of the 827 consultations delivered during the first eight months of the pilot service

Conjunctivitis, vaginal thrush, hay fever and head lice have been the conditions treated most often through the Welsh common ailment service (CAS), which aims to make pharmacists the first port of call for advice and treatment of common illnesses (see ‘Common and minor ailment schemes’).

An interim report, published on 29 January 2015, reveals that conjunctivitis accounted for 174 of the 827 consultations delivered during the first eight months of the pilot service, which ran in 32 pharmacies in Gwynedd, North Wales, and the Cynon Valley, South Wales.

The report suggests that several positive outcomes are emerging from the pilot, which began in September 2013. These include the strengthening of GP-pharmacist relationships, improved patient understanding of the support available in pharmacies, and improved job satisfaction for pharmacists. Take-up was patchy, however, as half (418) of the consultations were performed by pharmacists in just 6 of the 32 pharmacies involved.

The report’s authors have made several recommendations to help secure the success of the CAS as it moves towards a national roll out. These include: improving service awareness and understanding among GP practice staff, patients and other healthcare professionals; making the IT system used to record consultations more user friendly; and ensuring consistent availability of the service.

Pharmacists and GPs involved in the pilot both reported problems delivering the service during busy dispensing times. The median time taken for a consultation was just under 4.5 minutes. The report’s authors also point out that locum pharmacists are not always accredited to deliver the service, which is frustrating for patients who have been directed by GP practice staff to seek treatment from a pharmacy.

The final report is due to be published in May 2015.

 

Common and minor ailment schemes

Many GP consultations are for conditions that are self-limiting, such as constipation, dyspepsia, hay fever, coughs and sore throats, or that are not self-limiting but that can be treated with medicines available without a prescription from pharmacies, such as athlete’s foot. Pharmacists already spend much of their time advising on these conditions, recommending over-the-counter (OTC) products or referring patients to other healthcare professionals.

A community pharmacy common or minor ailment service is a scheme that encourages patients to consult a participating pharmacy, rather than their GP, for a defined list of common or minor ailments. The pharmacist will supply medication from an agreed formulary, give advice, or refer the patient to the GP if necessary. Medicines are supplied free of charge, removing the payment barrier that can stop patients choosing to see a pharmacist instead of their GP.

According to research conducted in 2007 on behalf of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), an organisation that represents manufacturers of OTC medicines, 57 million GP consultations per year involve a discussion about minor ailments, 90% of which are for minor ailments alone. The research also found that 20% of GP consultations involve minor ailments, and 18% are for minor ailments only. Most of these consultations (91%) result in a prescription being issued, at a cost of £370m. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067796

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.