Winter is coming! Guest blog by Connect2Pharma

As we enter into another winter – you know – that season that follows summer and autumn that the NHS has a habit of forgetting about – are you making plans?

GP practices will be crammed full, OOH will not be able to cope and more A&E services will be redirecting ambulances around the country. People will be getting coughs and colds and sore throats.

The Strep A Sore Throat Test and Treat Service using the OSOM® Strep A test was included in the NHS Innovation Accelerator program after the publication of the feasibility study. Last year 300 independent pharmacies delivered the service privately. You should be proud, because we passed your feedback and views into the team working to develop the proposal further. A proposal has come through the innovation network and a couple of weeks ago we heard that a significant amount of money was going through Academic Health Science networks to fund innovation proposals.

Will it happen – will there be an NHS commissioned service? Personally I think the answer will be yes – there will be a few pilots commissioned with very strict criteria and several hurdles to get over.

Let’s think about this. We have two scoring systems – CENTOR and FEVERPAIN – they help to differentiate people with a viral sore throat from those that have a bacterial sore throat. They aren’t fantastic. With a FEVERPAIN score of 4 or 5 the recommendations are to give antibiotics, but the score is only 60-65% predictive. And with a score of 2 or 3 where delayed antibiotics are recommended it is only 34-40% predictive. The only conclusion is that a lot of people who don’t need antibiotics get them and some that would benefit don’t.

We all understand that antibiotics only reduce the symptoms by a short period of time, but they do reduce the period of infectivity from 14 days down to less than 24hr. You might consider this important for a condition that spreads. A family with one case has about a 45% change of a second member getting the condition. And we should remember that scarlet fever and invasive Strep A are caused by the same bacteria and can have very different outcomes.

The test is remarkably simple and will identify Strep A antigens. It takes just a few minutes to do and has both high sensitivity (96%) and selectivity (98%). It is inexpensive and comes in packs of 20 or 50.

Pharmacies working with us say that it is a simple and straightforward service. That many patients just want to know – and find the service quick and convenient. They often purchase symptomatic treatment alongside the test – whether it is bacterial or viral. We all know that this service supports the PharmacyFirst campaign and helps to reduce some of the pressure in General Practice.

The up-front investment costs are low and supporting materials are available on our website there are also links to a manufacturer on line training course, the UK distributor and a company that supports a PGD. It is all there.

If you are in a larger group then talk to us or the distributor about arranging a training program for you.

Ordering details

To order your OSOM® Strep A Tests today contact UNA Health via telephone on 01782 575180 or email at Remember to quote the Connect2Pharma account number – 7513, for discounted prices.
The following discounted prices are available to Connect2Pharma members.
OSOM® Strep A Tests are available at a special price of £90 for 50 tests, this equates to £1.80/test (normal list price of £105 for 50). RRP £9.50/test.
Alternatively we also now have a smaller pack size of OSOM® Strep A Tests which are available at a special price of £45 for 20 tests, this equates to £2.25/test.



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