Mike Smith puts the world to rights...

Is it just me, or is the run-up to a general election just about the only time that we hear the really big hitters in politics (and by that I mean those at the level of health secretary and above) publicly acknowledge the roles of healthcare professionals other than GPs?

With only a few more months of electioneering to go, I am sure we can all look forward to many more warm words about the role community pharmacists can play. Perhaps, between now and 7 May, we should all start keeping count of how many times we hear the phrases ‘bigger role to play’ or ‘swing the pendulum of care away from hospital towards the community’ or ‘vital role in preventative care’ before the votes are cast and the pre-election pledges appear to immediately disappear into the ether.

 

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Scotland’s minor ailments service has a lot that’s good about it, says Noel Wicks

Some ideas are just so good that they keep coming around again and again. One such idea is that of an English national minor ailments/common ailments service through pharmacies. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, with costly A&Es bursting at the seams and long waits for doctors’ appointments, a service such as this is the only logical way forward.

When you think about it, we already have the infrastructure, the capability and the scope to create the capacity for such a service. I’m sure the amount needed to set up the service would be minimal compared to any other recent national initiatives you care to mention. I appreciate that the ongoing costs of providing this would not be inconsiderable, but, in my opinion, and in relation to the alternatives, it surely can’t represent anything other than value for money.

Hopefully, in the near future there will be a sudden outbreak of common sense from the government and by winter 2015 pharmacy really will be the ‘first port of call’ for common conditions.

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Scotland’s minor ailments service has a lot that’s good about it, says Noel Wicks

Some ideas are just so good that they keep coming around again and again. One such idea is that of an English national minor ailments/common ailments service through pharmacies. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, with costly A&Es bursting at the seams and long waits for doctors’ appointments, a service such as this is the only logical way forward.

When you think about it, we already have the infrastructure, the capability and the scope to create the capacity for such a service. I’m sure the amount needed to set up the service would be minimal compared to any other recent national initiatives you care to mention. I appreciate that the ongoing costs of providing this would not be inconsiderable, but, in my opinion, and in relation to the alternatives, it surely can’t represent anything other than value for money.

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Although pharmacy needs to focus on healthcare, new ideas might catch the customer’s eye, says Noel Wicks

Is it just me, or has the scope of retail creep reached epidemic proportions? I can now buy a onesie when I fill up my petrol tank, book a restaurant while banking and take out pet insurance as I get my groceries (albeit I have to scan them myself these days). Although the idea of flogging stuff to a captive audience is not a new one, retailers are becoming increasingly diverse in what they offer their customers. In many cases, the products are a natural add-on: why wouldn’t you want a memory card or headphones with your new tablet? However, lately I’ve noticed more companies diversifying to the point of ludicrousness. Perhaps it’s the Christmas factor that’s emphasising this for me.

 

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Mike Smith puts the world to rights...

The latest statistics for Accident and Emergency admissions in England make miserable reading for anyone whose professional aim is to reduce avoidable use of secondary care. In the year to June 2014, there were more than 18 million A&E attendances, of which only 21 per cent resulted in admission to hospital. Of the remaining majority, 3.7 million (19.8 per cent) resulted in a GP follow-up. But by far the largest group – 7.1 million (38 per cent) – were discharged with no follow-up.

So, where were all the community-based healthcare professionals when those 7.1 million people decided they needed some medical advice?

It’s easy to presume that these consultations are the result of a worried parent woken up in the middle of the night with a feverish child – and of course, some of the time, this will be a correct assumption to make. But, worryingly, research presented at this year’s Pharmacy Show reveals that most A&E visits are made during the day, when pharmacies are open, and that the visits were made by people not just with young children, but also by those aged between 25 and 35 years old. Of those visits, a significant proportion was for minor ailments, including colds and flu, ear infections, cuts, bruises, thrush and cystitis.

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