The scheme will allow more than 50,000 patients to connect with local community pharmacists through Push Doctor’s online platform.
This approach can direct patients to pharmacists who are clinically trained to treat minor ailments to receive treatment online, freeing up GP appointments and easing the burden on local NHS services.
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.
If successful, Push Doctor and Well Pharmacy will increase the number of surgeries offering digital pharmacist consultations, with the latter looking to recruit more clinical pharmacists as the partnership expands.
‘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,’ said Wais Shaifta, chief executive of Push Doctor.
‘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 of Well Pharmacy, added: ‘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.’
Last month, Push Doctor was selected as the digital partner for GP practices in west London, providing more than 300,000 people across 45 practices in Hounslow access to digital NHS GP appointments.