There has been a significant increase in the number of people using the Island’s Minor Ailment Scheme, up by 136% since 2014. Almost 2,000 people were treated by pharmacists in 2015/16 and the public is being encouraged to think ‘pharmacist first’ when seeking advice and treatment for a number of minor health complaints.
Launched in 2007, the scheme is designed to make accessing treatment for common minor conditions easier and more convenient, without the need to see a GP or practice nurse. It offers individuals greater flexibility with same-day confidential advice and treatment available at all of the Island’s pharmacists on a drop-in basis.
Minister for Health and Social Care, Howard Quayle, said:
“A visit to see the GP or practice nurse is often seen as the first port of call when we’re unwell. In fact, after self care, our first thought should be to visit a pharmacist.
“It is easy to view our pharmacists solely in terms of dispensers of prescription medication. Our pharmacists are highly qualified professionals who have spent five years at university studying to become experts in medicines. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge and are an asset to our community. Indeed it is estimated that approximately 9% of the population visit a pharmacy on any given day.
“With ever increasing demand upon our health service, it is vital we use all of the resources at our disposal to ensure the public receive the right care at the right time and in the right place. This includes making greater use of the knowledge and expertise of our pharmacists, providing an additional avenue through which the public can receive care.
“The message is simple – if you’re unwell with a minor complaint – think pharmacist first. It is easy, accessible, confidential and convenient – and it reduces the demand for GP and practice nurse appointments.
Advice and treatment of the following conditions is available through the Minor Ailment Scheme:
- Bacterial conjunctivitis
- Nappy rash
- Inflammation from rash or bites
- Impetigo (skin infection)
- Cystitis (urinary infection)
- Thrush (vaginal or thrush)
- Pain due to exercise-related injury
Joe McQuaid, Superintendent Pharmacist for Lloyds Pharmacy, said:
“The Minor Ailments Scheme is a fantastic service available to patients across the Island. The public are assured of being cared for by a skilled healthcare professional who can diagnose and treat a large number of conditions – all without an appointment and at a time to suit them.
“Recently, I have been able to diagnose and treat a young infant with a bacterial eye infection who would otherwise have needed a GP appointment before being treated. The infant's mother was really happy that we were able to dispense an antibiotic eye drop without seeing the GP and could begin treatment immediately.”
Maria Bell, Pharmaceutical Adviser for the Department, said:
“We are very fortunate in the Isle of Man that our pharmacists are able to treat such a wide range of health conditions through the Minor Ailment Scheme. It is vital that the public see pharmacists as a valuable source of support, advice and treatment for their families.”