Health app Patient Access is extending its appointment booking feature beyond GP appointments to include services provided by community pharmacies.
Pharmacy services that can be booked via the app include: in-pharmacy NHS services such as influenza vaccinations, smoking cessation support and Medicine Use Reviews (MURs) as well as paid-for private pharmacy services such as treatment for hair loss and a range of travel vaccinations through Patient Group Directions (PGDs).
Patient Access has more than seven million registered users. The aim of the new development is to make it easier for pharmacies to play their part in relieving pressure on GP surgeries.
Patient Access CEO Jason Keane said: “A key part of the NHS Long Term Plan is focused on driving patients to community pharmacy for clinical services. Patient Access pharmacy bookings will support this by enabling patients to search, view and book a wide range of services in their local area.
“It’s an exciting move that will harness the power of community pharmacy in a new way.”
Pharmacy appointment bookings have been trialled in two London boroughs, and now Patient Access is taking steps to roll this feature out nationally. The Day Lewis pharmacy group is the first provider to be listed in the service, with over 60 branches now live within the app and another 220 branches to follow over the next two months.
Sam Patel, executive director at Day Lewis said: “We’re excited to be the initial launch partner for pharmacy bookings within Patient Access. Community pharmacy plays a vital role within the health network and by enabling greater patient visibility of the services offered by pharmacies and more choice, we are able to support both patients and the wider health network.”
A feature of the new service is the ability, with the patient’s consent, for pharmacists using ProScript Connect PMR software to send an electronic consultation summary of any service they deliver back to the patient medical record, where the GP can view it.
Patient Access clinical director Dr Sarah Jarvis added: “As a practicing GP for the last 29 years, I am all too aware of the pressures on general practice as well as the invaluable service that pharmacists perform. I am confident that that we can help reduce strain on GP services and increase patient satisfaction.”