Major prescription change means patients will get some drugs WITHOUT seeing their GP | The Sun

A MAJOR prescription change means that Brits will be able to get some drugs without even seeing their GP.

In order to free up appointments, patients will be able to access medications such as contraceptives and anti-depressants.

The plans are part of new health secretary Thérèse Coffey's pledge for patients to become her priority.

It's part of the existing five-year deal which aims to iron out issues with the health service.

In the House of Commons today, she said she would be 'their champion'.

She told the Commons: "To help free up appointments, we will ease pressures on GP practices by expanding the role of community pharmacies.

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"I’m pleased to announce that today we have agreed a deal for an expanded offer over the next 18 months.

“Pharmacists will be able to prescribe certain medications rather than requiring a GP prescription.

"As well as other measures involving community pharmacists, we estimate that this will free up two million appointments.”

From January 11 the government will introduce its first tier of the Pharmacy Contraception Service.

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A report detailing the services states that people could be able to get antidepressants without a prescription from as soon as April 2023.

In the commons, Ms Coffey said that these measures 'are the start, not the end', for the government's ambitions when it comes to health care.

"My priorities are patients priorities' and I will endeavour to level up care and match expectations that the public rightly have," she added.

She also addressed issues with appointments and said sick Brits should be able to see a GP within a fortnight and on the same day if their case is urgent.

However, she insisted there would be no changes to four-hour A&E waiting time targets for patients in England.

The Health Secretary had reportedly been considering abolishing the target, but she told MPs she remains committed to it.

At present, just 58 per cent of patients being sent to A&E are being seen within the four hour target.

Many more have had to endure waits of more than 12 hours just to be seen by a medic.

'MORE CAPACITY'

Ms Coffey however said she would be providing more resources to help hospitals.

She said: "45 per cent of delays occur in just 15 hospital trusts.

"We will create more capacity in hospitals with 7,000 more beds by this winter.

"Freeing beds up with a focus on discharge and people being monitored remotely."

Over the summer months, it was reported that heart attack patients had been facings deadly 999 delays.

Other NHS patients said they'd had to wait 20 hours for an ambulance, while another face a life-threatening delay of three hours after having a seizure.

Coffey will aim to make it easier for sick Brits to see a family doctor by freeing-up millions more slots, with the help of extra support staff and pharmacists.

GP phone systems will also be modernised so people are not forced to repeatedly call back when lines are engaged.

The Health Sec set out details of her “Our Plan for Patients” blueprint in the Commons, which focussed on "ABCD" – ambulances, backlog, care and doctors and dentists.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, said: "I know how much patients value timely, convenient access to GPs and primary care, the front door to the NHS, which is why we are continuing to drive improvements, including new roles to better meet patients' needs and new tech to make contacting your local surgery easier.

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"NHS staff are working incredibly hard to deliver record numbers of GP appointments for patients, with 11 million more this year so far than the same period last year, and more than four in five people who need an appointment seen within two weeks, including more than two-fifths within one day.

"We will work with the Government so we can support NHS staff to deliver these new ambitions for patients, underpinned by the development of a long-term workforce plan."

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