A ‘test and treat’ scheme for patients with sore throats will be piloted at 70 Welsh community pharmacies in autumn 2018.
The on-the-spot throat swab scheme will diagnose whether an illness is viral or bacterial and, if appropriate, antibiotics will be prescribed by the pharmacist, meaning the patient will not need to see a GP.
Launched as part of NHS Wales’s Choose Pharmacy service, which is expected to be available at all Welsh community pharmacies by March 2020, the sore throat service will initially be available in selected pharmacies in Cwm Taf and Betsi Cadwaladr local health board areas. It will be assessed before a decision is made on national roll out.
Cheryl Way, lead clinical pharmacist at NHS Wales Informatics Service, said: “This is a further example of how the Choose Pharmacy digital platform can relieve pressure on GP services and support appropriate antibiotic prescribing.”
NHS Wales estimates that there are around 180,000 GP consultations for sore throat in Wales each year. In 2016, 122,000 antibiotic prescriptions for sore throat were dispensed.
The Welsh government has also announced that community pharmacies will be used to provide free seasonal flu vaccinations to all care home workers next winter.
During winter 2017–2018, to the end of March, there were 71 reported flu outbreaks in Wales, of which 42 (60%) happened in care homes.
Until now, responsibility for offering flu vaccine to social care staff has rested with individual employers.
Source: Nick Treharne
Vaughan Gething, Welsh health and social services secretary, said: “Vaccination of staff has been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of disease and patient mortality in care home settings.”