I was interested to see that some people have influenza predictive tools. They measure whether we are going to have a light or heavy season and some are predicting that 2017/8 might be a bad season – so in many respects it may be that we have been lucky.
We currently have a system where most people with a viral or flu like illness would go to their community pharmacist for some help and I am sure that they get good advice and assistance. However, many patients go to their GP and will sit in their waiting room until called for their appointment. There is a scheme in place that supports some GPs reporting flu like illness and at a point in time the GPs are able to prescribe treatments at the expense of the NHS.
So why don’t we try changing this?
Still ask all people with a viral or flu like illness to go to the community pharmacy. Support community pharmacy to offer a rapid antigen test for influenza A and B and report all positives to the Public Health notification system. For all patients that report positive support the Pharmacists to be offer treatment the NHS through a PGD. They can notify the positive cases to the patient’s GP as well so should the patient deteriorate then an emergency service can be put in place.
What would we get?
- A reduction in patients attending General Practice with flu like illness – saving appointments and reducing spread
- A better diagnosis and more accurate reporting of flu
- Treatments only prescribed for patients that have a positive diagnosis
Right then – anyone interested in a pilot?