NHS Minor Ailments service – a well kept secret?

This week my daughter has developed conjunctivitis, a minor eye infection which produces a puss-like discharge. My son used to contract this regularly and my daughter has had it once or twice before. The infection is easily cleared with chloramphenicol cream or drops, I prefer the cream as it is easier to apply and I always worry that drops are washed away with crying from unhappy children who don’t like having random liquids dropped into their eyes.

Always before it has involved a stressful trek to our g.p. surgery to spend at least 30 minutes in a waiting room and 2 minutes in with the doctor. This time I happened to be in our local Sainsburys pharmacy and decided to see if I could buy the cream before calling for a doctor’s appointment. It turns out that I couldn’t buy the cream but that I could get it there and then from the pharmacist using the NHS Minor Ailments form.

If like me you have never heard of the NHS Minor Ailments form it turns out that pharmacists can dispense some medicines at prescription cost or lower (free for children and people who don’t pay for prescriptions) for minor conditions if they think it is appropriate. The pharmacist saw us in a consulting room and completed the form taking details of my daughter’s name, date of birth, g.p. address and our home address; she then dispensed the cream and it is effectively a prescription which is brilliant as our nursery will only apply it for us if it is prescription.

Last night I had a look on the internet to try and find out a bit more about this brilliant service and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. It seems to be very poorly publicised, there is almost no mention on the NHS website the only place I found it was at the bottom of this page about pharmacy services. I’ve quoted from it below.

Minor ailment services
Some pharmacies run a minor ailment service, which means that they can supply medicines for certain specific conditions on the NHS. It’s up to local primary care trusts (PCTs) to decide whether pharmacies in your area provide these services.

If your pharmacy runs a minor ailment service for eczema, for example, it means that your pharmacist can supply medicines for this condition, and you’ll only pay the standard prescription charge. Or if you’re exempt from paying prescription charges, for example because you’re over 60, you won’t pay for the medicine.

Use our Service search to look for pharmacies in your area. Each pharmacy listing on NHS Choices comes with a ‘Services’ tab which should list the minor ailment service if the pharmacy has one.

Or simply ask at your local pharmacy.

The best info I found was on the Boots website which describes the service and lists some of the conditions which are commonly treated using the service.

Back ache, sprains and strains Haemorrhoids Minor fungal infections of the skin
Colds Hay fever Mouth ulcers
Conjunctivitis Head lice Nappy rash
Constipation Headache and fever Sore throat
Coughs Heartburn and indigestion Teething
Diarrhoea Insect bites and stings Threadworm
Earache Mild eczema and dermatitis Thrush

The above information was found at: http://www.boots.com/en/Pharmacy-Health/Health-pharmacy-services/Pharmacy-services-support/I-need-more-information/Minor-ailments-service-NHS/

This service is so useful and I’m sure would save many busy mums from a lot of unnecessary stress. If you have a local pharmacy why not ask if they participate in the scheme next time you’re there? If your child comes down with something like conjunctivits it could save you a lot of trouble knowing that this service was available.

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  1. amish chicken coop says:

    There are some interesting points in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them close to heart. There’s some validity however I will take hold an opinion until I look into it further. Great site, thanks and we hope to see more! Added to my Feedburner account as well.

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