Launch of UK’s first ‘Pharmacy First’ digital health service

Launch of UK’s first ‘Pharmacy First’ digital health service
© iStock-Hiraman

The UK will see the launch of its first ever pharmacy-first digital health service in a partnership between Well Pharmacy and Push Doctor.

Well Pharmacy and digital health company, Push Doctor, are to launch the country’s first pharmacy-first digital service pilot scheme that will provide over 50,000 patients with direct access to local community pharmacists via the Push Doctor platform.

The pilot, which initially ran at a single GP practice for four weeks, has now been extended to a further three GP practices across Plymouth Sound primary care network and is currently available to over 50,000 patients living in the local area. If the pilot is successful Push Doctor and Well Pharmacy will be increasing the number of surgeries offering digital pharmacist consultations, with Well Pharmacy looking to recruit more clinical pharmacists as the partnership expands.

Improving care in the UK

It is estimated that one-third of GP appointments nationally could be treated by pharmacists who are clinically trained to treat minor ailments. By adopting a pharmacy-first approach, patients who access the Push Doctor platform with such concerns will be directed to a pharmacist who will be able to offer quick and effective treatment online.

The move will free up GP appointments for those with serious or chronic health conditions, easing the burden on the local NHS at a time of unprecedented demand.

Wais Shaifta, Chief Executive, Push Doctor, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Well Pharmacy to provide the residents of Plymouth with better access to primary care. 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.

“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.”

Patients will be able to access a highly trained Well Pharmacist flexibly at a time that suits them.

Seb Hobbs, CEO, Well Pharmacy, said: “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.”

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