Monday, 18 May 2015

NHS Minor Ailments Service

I heard about this through Facebook proving that a) even though it's been running for years the advertising for the scheme is hardly 'in your face', and b) Facebook is actually good for something. If you're eligible for free prescriptions (this includes everyone registered with a Welsh GP) you are able to access free treatments for common ailments. I understand that they vary from health board to health board, but in Torfaen they're listed as:
  • Athletes Foot 
  • Common Cold 
  • Conjunctivitis 
  • Constipation 
  • Cough 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Earache 
  • Hay Fever 
  • Headache 
  • Head Lice 
  • Heartburn 
  • Indigestion 
  • Sore Throat 
  • Threadworm 
  • Tummy Upset 
  • Vaginal Thrush 
  • Warts 
  • Verrucas
In many areas the scheme will cover common childhood remedies like calpol and sudocrem, if and when the need for them arises.

Torfaen has had a version of the scheme since 2006, and 19 of the 21 pharmacies across the borough are signed up. (Check whether your local pharmacy is HERE.) To do this, they have to have a specially trained pharmacist. If the accredited pharmacist is not in on the day you visit, they won't be able to give you the treatment, but should be able to signpost you to the nearest pharmacy that can. In other areas you need to register with your local pharmacy, while in Torfaen proof that you are registered with a surgery in the borough should suffice.

See the full leaflet from Torfaen Local Health Board HERE.

On Facebook some people were worried about how much this was costing the NHS. In Wales, at least, this kind of scheme actually saves significant amounts of time and money. Since 2007, when free scrips came in, people tend to make an appointment with their GP to get a prescription for minor ailment treatments. Or, put another way, nearly 40% of a Welsh GP's time is spent dealing with minor ailments. By negating the need for those appointments, the pressure on GP surgeries can be eased.
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