Harrow pharmacies deprived

chemist1While Ealing and Hillingdon do, the Harrow clinical commissioning group does not provide an opportunity for Harrow pharmacists to broaden their scope in the community through minor ailment scheme.
The aim of the Minor Ailment Service (MAS) is to support the provision of direct pharmaceutical care on the NHS by community pharmacists to members of the public for some common illness.
The pharmacist are able to assess patient’s medical needs, give advice, suggest medicines if appropriate, and refer the patient to a GP if necessary – medicines as part of a minor ailment scheme are on the NHS.
Access to MAS at chemists is much easier, and could avoid chasing GP appointment and long queues  at the walk-in centres.
Commenting on the Brent and Harrow MAS situation, Michael Levitan, chief executive of the Middlesex Group of Local Pharmaceutical Committees, posed a question “why there is no service commissioned to divert patients needing reassurance, advice and simple remedies (particularly for children) away from GP surgeries, Urgent Care Centres and A&E departments, even though these outlets are overwhelmed at times by ever-increasing demand?
The average cost of a transaction under a MAS is a fraction of the cost of a patient turning up elsewhere” Mr Levitan pointed out.
In Harrow, like elsewhere, the Harrow CCG has the commissioning responsibilities but with a difference that the walk-in centres and some GP practices seem to be more represented at the Harrow CCG level  and are commissioned for the sort of MAS that the pharmacies could provide – also read about the conflict of interest  [1], [2].
Not only the Harrow CCG but Harrow council also seems to be favouring the walk-in centres – for example, very recently Harrow council being a part of the West London Economic Prosperity Board, has requested £ 300,000.00 for Harrow Belmont Health Centre through the West London Bid.
We glen serious concerns from the local pharmacists that far from having the opportunity to broaden their scope in the community, there are instances of taking away some of the services they provided, ‘a systematic process to phase out independent and small pharmacies’.
Next time someone knocks on the door for votes, please ask them to support local   pharmacies!