Pharmacy2U is now offering same-day appointments to manage six common conditions, following the introduction of the new NHS Pharmacy First service.

NHS Pharmacy First aims to help relieve pressure on GPS by shifting consultations, management of conditions and treatment to pharmacies for a range of common conditions. The service is anticipated to free up to 10 million GP appointments a year, by next winter, according to the NHS.

The scheme allows people to visit their local pharmacy if they suspect they are suffering from sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bites, impetigo, shingles or an uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women.

In bypassing their GP, not only are patients able to access more immediate care and treatment, where appropriate, but they are also freeing up GP appointments for patients with other conditions.

The service is one of a raft of changes designed to help ease pressure on GPs. NHS data suggests 50% of British patients have struggled to reach their GP practice on the phone, an increase from 32% pre-covid. Pharmacy2U is one of 10,000 pharmacies that can now diagnose and treat common complaints. A recent report from the Health Innovation Network (HIN) South London and NHS England (London) Digital First team suggests that GP practices enable more online appointments for patients to book directly.

Patients can book an appointment online to talk to a pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, from the comfort of their own home. Before an appointment is made they will be asked a few short questions to check the service is right for them. If it is, they will be able to make an appointment to speak to a dedicated team of trained pharmacists about one of the following conditions: sinusitis, an infected insect bite, sore throat, UTIs, shingles and impetigo.

If medication is required, Pharmacy2U can write a prescription and deliver it for free using Royal Mail’s 24-hour service.

Kevin Heath, CEO at Pharmacy2U, said: “We are delighted to be joining our fellow pharmacists in launching the NHS Common Condition service as part of the Pharmacy First programme. This initiative, which we support fully, will play a major role in providing patients easy and direct access to pharmacists, to discuss and treat a number of common conditions. We know our patients will value the convenience and privacy of this new service.

“As the UK’s leading digital pharmacy, currently helping over 800,000 patients with their NHS repeat prescriptions, we continue our proud relationship with the NHS and providing digital access to much needed health services to patients across England.”