Digital platform offers online consultations with community pharmacists

  • 14 June 2024
Digital platform offers online consultations with community pharmacists

A new digital platform has been launched, allowing patients to book free online Pharmacy First consultations with community pharmacists.

My Local Surgery enables registered pharmacists to allocate available time to appointment slots and matches them with patients who are looking for online Pharmacy First consultations.

If during the consultation, the pharmacist determines a prescription is required, they will dispense the medication and have it delivered to the patient via an express 24-hour postal service.

The online service covers six of the seven common conditions included in the Pharmacy First scheme, which was launched by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England on 31 January 2024.

My Local Surgery provides consultations for impetigo, infected insect bites, shingles, sinusitis, sore throat and uncomplicated urinary trace infections, but does not include ear ache.

In a press release, Darren Lingaloo, co-founder and chief pharmacist at My Local Surgery, said: “The evolving role of pharmacists is long overdue and has the potential to save millions of GP appointments every year.

“Many pharmacies are now investing in their consulting facilities and staff to deliver more clinical services to patients in their community and support the NHS Pharmacy First initiative.

“Those with additional clinical capacity will also now be able to provide online consultations to patients across England through My Local Surgery.”

The Village Pharmacy, which operates pharmacies in Hampshire and Kent, was the first to deliver online consultations via the platform, as part of a soft launch in March 2024.

Lingaloo said there is “huge digital demand” for Pharmacy First appointments, and the service is now being rolled-out more widely.

“My Local Surgery reached full capacity during our initial launch phase, and we are now preparing to scale,” he added.

The service also offers access to the NHS contraceptive service and private consultations with health professionals.

Dr Adam Kirk, chief medical advisor at My Local Surgery, said that the service is “designed to simplify access to healthcare”.

“For the patient, it delivers a rapid service to treat common conditions and for community pharmacists, it’s providing the opportunity to use their clinical skills to support the growing demand for online consultations,” he said.

In April 2024, online pharmacy service Pharmacy2U announced the launch of a prescription order-tracking service.

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