The Northern Irish community pharmacy minor ailments service has restarted as of 1st September 2020. A number of changes in the way the service will now be delivered have been agreed.
The changes are as follows:
- Consultations may be conducted via telephone or video call.
- Third-party consultations are now permitted. These will require the pharmacist to use professional judgement to decide if appropriate.
- Appointments for consultations may now be appropriate to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.
Joe Brogan, Assistant Director of Integrated Care, Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management commented:
“At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of community pharmacy services including the Minor Ailments Service (MAS) were stood down with immediate effect. This was to help relieve pressures on pharmacy staff and ensure that essential services, primarily dispensing services, could continue to be provided in a safe manner.
“HSCB, DOH and CPNI have been working to establish which pharmaceutical services may be safely reintroduced. It has been agreed that community pharmacies may recommence the provision of the Minor Ailments Service from 1st September 2020.
“The ongoing pandemic may, however, affect the ability of some pharmacies to safely deliver this service in its current format. Therefore some flexibility in how pharmacies can deliver this service has been agreed.
“Whilst the strategic direction is for a full Pharmacy First service, based on a patient registration model, an interim Pharmacy First service will be available later in the autumn. Further information on the Pharmacy First service for this autumn or winter will be provided in due course.”