Well Pharmacy is launching a new pilot service whereby its pharmacists provide digital consultations for minor ailments on behalf of GP practices.
The pilot, the result of a partnership with video consultations provider Push Doctor, was initially run at a single GP surgery for four weeks before being extended to three more practices across Plymouth Sound primary care network.
If the pilot is successful, Well and Push Doctor will seek to extend the service to more GP practices, with Well planning to recruit more clinical pharmacists as the service expands.
The two companies said the service offered patients flexible and confidential access to a pharmacist and could free up GP consultations for patients with more serious health problems.
A similar service is also available in Warrington PCN, where Well pharmacists work alongside GPs as part of an integrated practice team to help prevent patients getting ill from chronic conditions.
Well Pharmacy CEO Seb Hobbs, who recently spoke to Pharmacy Magazine about the multiple’s plans to invest in digital working, commented: “Through this partnership with Push Doctor we will demonstrate the central role pharmacists can play in providing primary care, prompting a shift towards a pharmacy-first patient mindset. The partnership provides an amazing opportunity for us to increase patient access to pharmacy services and ensure that they can fully leverage the expertise of these highly trained clinicians.”
Push Doctor chief executive Wais Shaifta said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Well Pharmacy to provide the residents of Plymouth with better access to primary care. By directing patients to the most appropriate clinician in the first instance we can treat them faster and more effectively, delivering better health outcomes across the local area.
“By fully utilising the skill and expertise of pharmacists, we will remove non-essential footfall for GP practices, freeing up more time for GPs to see patients with more serious medical issues. We hope this will be the start of a new pharmacy-first delivery model that will set up a future digital NHS across the country.”