Women who suspect they may have a urinary tract infection (UTI) will be tested and treated without seeing a GP as part of a NHS England pilot scheme in 38 pharmacies in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
The test, developed by Healthy.io, combines the standard dipstick urine test with a smartphone app. A “virtual nurse” talks users through urine collection and testing. The strip is dipped into a mid-stream urine sample then placed on the proprietary colour board and scanned with a mobile phone.
The app uses the colour board as a reference to detect any colour changes on the dipstick. Women who do not test positive for a UTI are offered a follow-up consultation to discuss the possible causes of their symptoms, treatment or a GP referral.
During the NHS pilot, both the kit and consultation will be free. Any antibiotics will be provided under a patient group direction for the usual NHS prescription charges.
It is estimated that if only one in 10 women with a UTI is treated in a pharmacy instead of by their GP, the NHS would save £28m a year in England alone.