The UK is struggling to keep up with the growing number of patients at local GP surgeries.
However, about 95% of people in the most deprived regions in the UK live within a 20-minute walk from a pharmacy, and research has revealed that 16% of the adults included in a survey would be happy to seek health advice from a pharmacist for minor symptoms their children might be suffering from.
Pharmacists have the ability to positively contribute towards improving healthcare in the community through offering convenient and fair access for better health services.
Those who are trained to prescribe could be employed by local general practices to help in reviewing patients with long-term illnesses.
The General Practice Foundation supports a group of clinical professionals, and extending the group to involve pharmacists would be a natural development.
Pharmacists are well-trained health professionals with the ability to give health advice on the spot and provide effective treatments, and they have consultation rooms and complete access to the care records of patients.
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GP-based pharmacists with clinical skills would be trained through the primary care fund and possibly provide repeat prescriptions, handle hospital outpatient requests, and monitor and change the prescription of treatments if required.
Taking over these roles would help reduce the workload for GPs and allow them to focus more on the complex healthcare needs patients may have.
It would also help save the NHS money; it is estimated that a single trip to the GP costs the NHS £45.