LARNe residents can now receive a new range of health care treatments from their local community pharmacists.
The new services include treatments for removal of ear wax, oral thrush, mouth ulcers and cold sores.
Pharmacists will use their expertise to provide education, care and treatment on these and many other conditions in private areas in their premises.
In addition, pharmacists are now able to review patients’ prescriptions and where appropriate suggest changes to GPs. These changes will include, for example, using a more effective dose such as one tablet instead of two or providing a different form of a drug such as a capsule instead of a tablet.
The pharmacist may also suggest using a generic drug which is just the same as a more expensive brand. If the patient agrees to any of the pharmacist’s suggestions then their GP will be consulted and, if agreed, the changes will be made for their next repeat prescription.
Commenting on the new initiatives, Health Minister Edwin Poots said: “I welcome these additional services for the treatment of minor ailments. This is another example of how Transforming Your Care is succeeding in providing accessible services in more appropriate community settings.
“It also helps reduce demand on other areas of the health service, like emergency departments and GPs.”
Joe Brogan, head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management, Health and Social Care Board, said: “In managing all minor ailments, pharmacists will provide advice, education and signposting to other services when appropriate. This is important as many of the minor ailments may re-occur in the future and good education and advice will encourage prevention, early recognition and self care.”
Dr Terry Maguire, community pharmacist, said: “I really welcome this service development through community pharmacies. I know from personal experience how patients really value the ability to call in to their local community pharmacy, speak to a pharmacist who they know and trust and have their minor, but often upsetting, ailment treated quickly and efficiently.”