If anyone has been to a Theme park they know exactly what I mean. Whatever the ride or experience that you choose – you always end up walking through a shop. You are attracted to sections and usually end up buying something. Have you also stood in one of two parallel queues – one for those who love thrills, have no back problems are not pregnant or of a squeamish disposition – and the other for those who take life with more caution?
I sat yesterday hearing about the great work of pharmacists in urgent and emergency care centres and wondered why we can’t take a reverse Disney approach?
Why don’t we build a Community Pharmacy as the entrance and the exit to all urgent and emergency care centres? At least the patients will know where to find a pharmacy with long opening hours in the evenings and weekends. Perhaps we could ask one of the 1,000 pharmacies already open 100 hours a week to consider relocation.
As they walk through the Pharmacy they can be attracted by signs offering symptomatic relief to common conditions. We could try to deflect minor acute conditions to the pharmacy and let the others walk through knowing that they might face a 4 hour wait. We are told that 8% of patients attending A&E could be managed in a community pharmacy – it would make good sense.
But we also learnt that with increased training in clinical examination, some point of care testing and IP qualifications a pharmacist with enhanced skills could look after up to 20% of patients who attend A&E and with minor injury training perhaps another five percent as well.
And that is not all – if the patients that actually get through to the GP or Urgent care specialist has to leave through the pharmacy, then the remark – ‘pick up some paracetamol from the pharmacy on your way out’ – has some real meaning.
So perhaps this Disney inspired approach has some real benefits:
- Patients can find a pharmacy when they need to, buy symptomatic relief or sort out missing prescriptions (the pharmacist would have access to the shared care record)
- An enhanced pharmacy service including minor injury management could remove a further 20% from the queue
- The availability of a pharmacy on exit may save time and money in the Urgent Care service supply of medicines
- If this is commissioned with pharmacists working on rotation then the expertise can be shared with more pharmacies taking on additional roles
Could anyone drop Walt a call……. Or just chat with the LPC and local pharmacists – is this something for the STP plan?