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£2.1m investment for community pharmacists to offer consultations and advice for minor winter ailments


A new Pharmacy First service has been launched in Northern Ireland this winter, which will enable patients to have a consultation in a private area with their community pharmacist for advice and treatment for sore throats, colds and flu-like illness.

The service will be available from participating community pharmacies from 1st December 2018 until 31st March 2019 and represents a £2.1m investment in pharmacy services from the Department of Health as part of the transformation of health services.

Joe Brogan, Head of Pharmacy, Health and Social Care Board said, “Community pharmacists have an important role to play as the ‘high street medicines expert’ and this service will reinforce that role. We encourage the public, when they have a winter ailment and they are considering using their GP services – to think Pharmacy First. This new service will utilise the skills and expertise of the community pharmacist to provide advice and treatment for a range of common conditions to support self-care. This will help support GP practices, GP out-of-hours services and Emergency Departments over the coming months when winter ailments occur more frequently.”

Research from the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) shows that up to 40% of GP time is taken dealing with patients suffering from common conditions.

All patients registered with a GP in Northern Ireland are eligible to avail of this service, with the exception of temporary residents and patients living in nursing or residential homes.