Pharmacists to the rescue!
Radical proposals to ease the pressures on family doctors have been proposed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society which could see a pharmacist in every GP surgery.
GPs and their teams are estimated to make 370 million patient consultations this year. This is 70 million more than five years ago, but as demand has risen the number of GPs in England has remained pretty much the same.
By contrast there is currently an over-supply of pharmacists, who train as clinicians for five years – only one year less than a doctor. The suggestion is that they could step in to treat patients directly at the surgery, particularly those with long term conditions and who are taking a number of different medicines.
Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, says: “Waiting times for a GP appointment are now a national talking point. Yet we have a ‘hidden army’ of highly-trained pharmacists who could provide a solution.”
But this isn’t going to happen overnight. Your local community pharmacy will be your port of call to see a pharmacist for a while yet.