Talks to introduce a national minor ailments service across community pharmacies in England, which could help relieve pressure on GPs, have “failed”, it has been revealed.
In May the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced it was in talks with NHS Employers, on behalf of NHS England, to introduce the service, but details of the contract were revealed in late July and the service was not included.
In response, Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board, said that the failure to include the scheme in the 2015–2016 community pharmacy contract was “a missed opportunity all round” and “deeply frustrating”, speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal.
Gidley said: “We are constantly being told about winter pressures. There was an opportunity to do something innovative where pharmacy could have a consistent service across the country; people could go and have a proper consultation and that would take the pressure off GP surgeries.
“It is deeply frustrating because we had been led to believe, right up until fairly recently, that everybody was very sympathetic to this idea. I don’t know what went wrong, but I do think that if we were really putting patients first then this would have been given a try,” she added.
The Royal Pharmaceutical society, who campaigned for the scheme since October 2014, will continue to raise the issue in upcoming meetings with health ministers, Gidley said.