NHS England is to extend the digital minor illness referral service pilot to London, Devon and the East Midlands.
The decision to expand the service follows a successful pilot in the North East, with Somerset also expected to be included in the latest roll-out.
The service is designed to alleviate pressure on urgent care and allow people to receive better care closer to their homes. The pilot runs until March 31 next year, the evaluation of which is “timed to inform any future commissioning for 2019/20,” according to the PSNC.
NHS 111 staff will be able to digitally refer callers who need advice and treatment for what the PSNC described as “low acuity conditions” to community pharmacies for face-to-face consultations.
“The conditions eligible for the service include rashes, constipation, diarrhoea, vaginal discharge, sore eye, mouth ulcer, failed contraception, vomiting, scabies and ear wax,” the PSNC said.
Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC, said: “Management of minor conditions has always been an important part of the community pharmacy service, so it is great to see this service integrating that pharmacy care within the wider urgent and emergency care system.
“PSNC recently referred to this service as an example of how community pharmacy could be used to better meet patients’ needs in our response to the NHS long-term plan consultation.
“We are particularly pleased to see that the original pilot has been used as the basis for rolling out this service across other areas. We hope that, in time, it will be made available across the whole of England.”
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