Dame Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport, has welcomed the launch of the new Pharmacy First service.

From today, pharmacies who have signed up to deliver the service can treat patients for seven common conditions: shingles; sore throats; sinusitis; UTIs; middle-ear infections; infected insect bites; and impetigo.

Backed up by £645 million, 95% of pharmacies – over 10,000 – in England, 276 in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, have signed up to deliver the service, which will save up to 10 million GP appointments a year.

In light of the announcement, Caroline said: “We know there are massive pressures on the NHS due to the Covid backlog and Pharmacy First will help ease the burden on frontline services.

“It uses the skills of our pharmacists to treat more people in the community without the need for a GP appointment – speeding up their own care as well as reducing pressure on local GP services.

“I am delighted to say that every one of the sixteen pharmacies in Gosport, Lee-on-Solent and Stubbington are offering Pharmacy First.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP said: “I’m determined to deliver faster, simpler, fairer access to care for patients, and the expansion of Pharmacy First will mean patients can get treatment for common conditions without needing to see their GP first.

“This is good news for patients and good news for the NHS. It will free up millions of GP appointments per year and mean that patients can get quick and effective treatment from their local pharmacy.

“As four in five people live within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, for many seeing their local pharmacist will be the easiest option – so this initiative will have real benefits for patients and help cut NHS waiting lists.”