Pharmacies Offer More Treatments For Common Health Conditions

Pharmacies across Forth Valley are now offering over-the-counter treatment for several more common health conditions without the need for a prescription. Over the past year, more than 3,500 people have sought the advice of a pharmacist for urinary tract infections and impetigo. Now treatment is also available for bacterial conjunctivitis, vaginal thrush, skin conditions such as eczema and contact dermatitis and skin infections including cellulitis, insect bites and nail infections.

The scheme, which is available in all 76 Forth Valley pharmacies, is part of the national Pharmacy First initiative which aims to make better use of pharmacy skills and widen the range of services available. Since it was introduced in NHS Forth Valley in 2016 several other Health Boards have or are planning to introduce similar services in their local pharmacies.

Pharmacists will ask local people about their symptoms in order to give the right advice and, although there are some exclusions to the scheme, particularly in relation to age, it is anticipated that thousands of people across Forth Valley will benefit from the extended range of treatments now available in local pharmacies.

NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Pharmacy, Scott Mitchell said: “We are delighted that so many local people have already taken up the offer to seek the help of a pharmacist for urinary infections and impetigo and community pharmacies are now looking forward to being able to treat people with other common conditions. Offering treatment in pharmacies not only takes pressure off busy GP services but also makes it easier for people to get help without having to make an appointment. Most pharmacies are open six days a week, and some located in supermarkets operate in the evenings and on Sundays.”

Harry McQuillan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland, added: “This is an excellent example of how community pharmacists can play a key role in supporting patient care and treatment by being the first post of call for many common illnesses and conditions.”