Calls to save in-store pharmacy scheme from axe

Karin Smyth MP receives a petition from Hamed Amin and Peter Badham at Badhams Pharmacy, Filwood Broadway

Knowle West residents are calling on health chiefs to reinstate a pharmacy scheme that enabled patients to receive in-store minor ailments advice and assessments.

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth was handed an 80-strong petition by Badhams Pharmacy when she visited the Filwood Broadway store to discuss the impact of recent community pharmacy budget cuts.

“I know from talking with Knowle West residents they really value the free, local service provided by the Minor Ailments Scheme,” she said.

“When patients take advantage of the scheme by dropping in to see a pharmacist it inevitably reduces demand on GP appointments, and we know there are already significant pressures on surgeries across south Bristol.

“Early interventions of the type provided by the Minor Ailments Scheme help patients, and help the NHS too. Its withdrawal means patients taking up GP time on treatments that local pharmacists have been trained to provide.

“Given the ongoing and increasing pressures on local health services, withdrawing the scheme is illogical.”

Last month the Labour MP wrote to the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), seeking clarity over its future after the CCG declared its intention to end the Scheme on 31 March 2017.

The Minor Ailment Scheme aims to help patients address common health problems like aches and pains, skin conditions and stomach upsets, with the pharmacist able to assess needs, give advice, suggest medicines if appropriate and, if necessary, then refer on to a GP.