Residents in North Lincolnshire experiencing minor illness or ailments, are being encouraged by their local NHS to speak directly to a community pharmacy online first.
The Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership is running a pilot project across North Lincolnshire initially, to trial online pharmacy consultations. The aim is to encourage patients and their carers to contact a pharmacy first using online consultations, before their GP, for conditions and enquiries that a pharmacy can help with.
Patients can visit northlincspharmacies.nhs.uk and search for their specific problem or medicine. The search results will display self-help material, and if further information is needed, the patient can:
- Contact a local pharmacy directly online at a time to suit, without the need to attend in person.
- Attach relevant photos if needed (for example for cuts, burns, acne and more). The pharmacy will respond and can advise online, or in person if they feel it’s necessary.
Pharmacies will be able to contact the patient online using secure online messaging or video consulting.
Paul Robinson, Chair of Community Pharmacy Humber said: “We’re excited to be piloting this online scheme in our local area and hope that our residents find that it’s useful and saves time. The pilot extends the normal pathways for patients to access advice about their healthcare needs from community pharmacy teams and it will be interesting to see how the public respond to online consultations in community pharmacy.”
Erica Ellerington, Head of Primary Care Transformation, NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Online health care solutions have been vital throughout the pandemic to reduce the spread of the virus. The NHS is looking to continue with online solutions wherever possible. Providing support online from pharmacies is a fantastic next step for creating even more easily accessible local health care.”
As qualified healthcare professionals, pharmacy teams can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.
If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure patients get the help they need. They will advise a patient if they need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.
For further information about this service, please speak to a local pharmacy or visit northlincspharmacies.nhs.uk.