UK video-consultation platform, Push doctor has partnered with independent UK pharmacy chain, Well Pharmacy to launch a pharmacy-based digital service.
The pilot, initially run at a single GP practice for four weeks, has now been extended to a further three GP practices across Plymouth Sound primary care network and is currently available to over 50,000 patients living in the local area.
If the pilot is successful Push Doctor and Well Pharmacy will be increasing the number of surgeries offering digital pharmacist consultations, with Well looking to recruit more clinical pharmacists as the partnership expands.
WHY IT MATTERS
In the UK, it is estimated that one-third of GP appointments could be treated by pharmacists who are clinically trained to treat minor ailments. By adopting a pharmacy-first approach, patients who access the Push Doctor platform with such concerns will be directed to a pharmacist who will be able to offer treatment online. This will free up GP appointments for those with serious or chronic health issues, easing the burden on the local NHS at a time of unprecedented demand.
The Push Doctor platform allows patients flexible and confidential access to a Well Pharmacist. Patients are able to conduct COVID-safe digital consultations using a device with video capability and internet connection.
A similar service is also on offer in Warrington PCN, where Well’s clinical pharmacists work alongside GPs as part of an integrated practice team. These pharmacists provide health support designed to prevent patients from getting ill from chronic conditions, such as medication reviews, long-term condition reviews and support for discharge letters and care home ward rounds.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
In 2019, through a partnership with the NHS, Push Doctor video-consultations became available to 2.1 million patients in Britain on the NHS.
As part of the nation's plans to open vaccination sites, Well Pharmacy has been working with the NHS to support the roll-out of the University of Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine to protect local communities. According to a letter sent to designated community pharmacy-led vaccination sites on 28 December 2020, community pharmacy contractors will receive £8 million to cover additional costs associated with the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
ON THE RECORD
Wais Shaifta, chief executive at Push Doctor, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Well Pharmacy to provide the residents of Plymouth with better access to primary care. By directing patients to the most appropriate clinician in the first instance we can treat them faster and more effectively, delivering better health outcomes across the local area. By fully utilising the skill and expertise of pharmacists, we will remove non-essential footfall for GP practices, freeing up more time for GPs to see patients with more serious medical issues. We hope this will be the start of a new pharmacy-first delivery model that will set up a future digital NHS across the country.”
Seb Hobbs, CEO at Well Pharmacy said: “Through this partnership with Push Doctor we will demonstrate the central role pharmacists can play in providing primary care, prompting a shift towards a pharmacy-first patient mindset. The partnership provides an amazing opportunity for us to increase patient access to pharmacy services and ensure that they can fully leverage the expertise of these highly trained clinicians.”