Health commissioners in Sefton have confirmed that following a recent review the Care at the Chemist scheme, available via community pharmacies, will continue from the 1st April 2017 although it will be available from fewer pharmacies.
Pharmacists ordinarily and routinely provide health advice to their customers regardless of Care at the Chemist but the scheme additionally ensures residents have access to a range of medicines for minor illnesses for which they might otherwise consider a trip to the doctor.
Medicines that are supplied to a patient as a result of their Care at the Chemist consultation are free for those who do not already pay for their prescriptions. All items available on the scheme are also available to buy over the counter.
NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, like many other CCGs, are required to make savings where possible but are keen to keep this valuable service where they can to help those residents who need it.
Following reviews of current services the CCGs have informed pharmacies that the consultation fee for the scheme will be reduced for 2017-18 which has led to a number of pharmacies choosing to no longer provide the additional service. There will however be 14 pharmacies across Sefton who will continue to offer the service.
The range of medicines currently available is also being reviewed in order to make the scheme more efficient.
Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “In this challenging financial climate we are having to make savings on many of our services but we do understand how valuable Care at the Chemist is, particularly for the borough’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. We are therefore pleased to be able to support the pharmacies who voluntarily wish to offer this service to patients.”
Dr Andrew Mimnagh, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “We are still reminding people to use their pharmacy for health advice for minor illnesses. Whether it is through the Care at the Chemist scheme or not, pharmacists can offer you advice on a wide range of minor health conditions and offer medication to assist.”
A full list of pharmacies offering Care at the Chemist as of 1st April 2017 can be found on each CCG web page below: