Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 6th September 2018.

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Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps Conservative, Welwyn Hatfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of community pharmacies in keeping NHS patients out of hospital.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government is encouraging a much greater use of community pharmacies as a first port of call by patients, thereby helping to relieve pressure on general practitioners and hospitals. Recent evaluations of two pilot schemes, which direct patients seeking urgent medicines supply and treatment for minor illnesses from NHS 111 to community pharmacy, have indicated the contribution community pharmacy can make in this respect. Of the patients using the urgent medicines supply scheme, 19.2% would have otherwise used an urgent care centre, such as accident and emergency, and 17.8% of patients using the minor illness referral scheme would have otherwise used an urgent care centre. Due to the success of these schemes so far, an extension to the urgent medicines supply service has been agreed until 31 March 2018, and three further pilots to the minor illness referral service are due to be launched in the autumn.

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