Hornchurch Healthcare

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Community Pharmacy Referral Scheme

Hornchurch Healthcare is engaging in an exciting new initiative that will hopefully ease the pressure on GP appointments, and ensure that patients are being signposted correctly and treated by the most appropriate healthcare professional.

Through this service, any patient who contacts the Practice regarding a minor ailment, may, with their consent, be referred for a same-day consultation with a local pharmacy of their choice. Minor illnesses include, but are not limited to, the following: mouth ulcers, acne, earache, headache, bites or stings, sticky eyes, rash, sleep difficulties and sore throat. Local pharmacists are fully qualified to assess and treat these conditions and many of them are also able to prescribe, just like GPs.

Once the referral has been received, the pharmacist will contact the patient on the same day by phone. If appropriate, they may conduct the consultation over the phone or request that the patient attend the pharmacy.

After the consultation, the pharmacist may recommend and sell over-the-counter medicines. Over-the-counter medications are usually not available on a prescription and so by seeing the pharmacist directly, this saves patient and GP time. If a patient presents with more serious symptoms than anticipated, the pharmacist will escalate the case and refer the patient on; for example, booking an urgent GP appointment.

As a Practice, we believe that this is a really positive development and an opportunity to harness the vast knowledge and experience of our local pharmacists. Ultimately, it will help us to ensure that emergency appointments are being utilised for patients with the most acute medical needs.

How your pharmacy can help – NHS (www.nhs.uk)