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Patients won’t need to go to doctor for chest infection or acne treatment, under Tory election pledge to expand pharamacists’ role – as party vows 100 more GP surgeries

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Patients will not need to go to the doctor for chest infections or acne, under a Tory election pledge to expand the role of pharmacists.

Treatments for more conditions would be available over the counter in an expansion of the Pharmacy First scheme. 

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak is vowing to take the pressure off GP appointments by building 100 new surgeries – funded by slashing the number of NHS managers.

The policy initiative represents the Conservatives‘ first major health offer of the election campaign. 

Treatments for more conditions would be available over the counter in an expansion of the Pharmacy First scheme (stock image)

Treatments for more conditions would be available over the counter in an expansion of the Pharmacy First scheme (stock image)

The policy initiative represents the Conservatives ' first major health offer of the election campaign

The policy initiative represents the Conservatives ‘ first major health offer of the election campaign

Rishi Sunak is vowing to take the pressure off GP appointments by building 100 new surgeries - funded by slashing the number of NHS managers

Rishi Sunak is vowing to take the pressure off GP appointments by building 100 new surgeries – funded by slashing the number of NHS managers

Areas of the greatest need, especially those with large numbers of new homes, would be the focus of the proposal.

As well as 100 new GP surgeries, a further 150 would be modernised.

The Pharmacy First scheme, launched in England earlier this year, allows patients to access some simple treatments via their pharmacy without having been to a GP first.

Treatment for more conditions, such as acne and chest infections, would now be included, a move the Tories claim would free up 20million GP appointments in total once fully scaled.

The party has also pledged to build a further 50 community diagnostic centres, which are aimed at giving patients access to diagnoses closer to home without having to visit large hospital sites.

The existing programme has delivered 160 centres so far.

The Tories said the changes will be paid for by cutting back the number of NHS managers to pre-pandemic levels and halving management consultancy spend across Government.

The new GP surgeries will also in part be paid for by an overhaul in planning guidance to ensure health gets a bigger share of developer contributions from new housing developments.

Mr Sunak said: ‘The NHS is one of our most important national assets and the Conservatives are taking the long-term decisions to secure its future.

‘As part of our clear plan we are investing in community services making it quicker, easier and more convenient for patients to receive the care they need and help to relieve pressure on hospital services.

‘Only the Conservatives will take the bold action needed to secure the NHS’s future so that you can be safe in the knowledge that the NHS will be there for you and your family whenever you need it.’

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins meanwhile added: ‘Pharmacies, GPs and Community Diagnostic Centres are the backbone of our NHS. Because of bold action we have taken, they are more accessible in more places for more people.

‘I know just how important it is for people to have access to health services and treatment close to home – and Pharmacy First and our hundreds of new Community Diagnostic Centres have been a real success story so far. But we must do more.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins is stewarding the election poiicy

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins is stewarding the election poiicy 

‘Our clear plan will continue to enable our brilliant pharmacists, GPs and CDCs to do what they do best: serving their local community and boosting capacity in our NHS. We will make the NHS faster, simpler and fairer for all.’

However, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: ‘The Conservatives have broken their manifesto promise to recruit more GPs, instead cutting 1,700 since 2016 and closing down more than 450 GP practices.

‘Patients are finding it harder than ever before to see a GP, so why would they trust this latest empty promise?

‘The doctor can’t see you now, and it will only get worse if the Tories are given another five years.

‘Labour will train thousands more GPs and cut the red tape that ties up GPs’ time, so we can bring back the family doctor.’



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