Service case study: ENT & eye service highly valued by patients

Published on: 27th February 2019 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

An evaluation of a new community pharmacy service for ear, nose and throat (ENT) and eye conditions, which has demonstrated a high level of patient satisfaction, has been published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice (IJPP)*.

What does the service involve?

The Pharmacy First Extended Care Service for ENT and eye conditions aims to provide patients who are registered with a GP practice in Staffordshire and Shropshire access to self-care advice and treatment for ENT and eye conditions, where appropriate.

Patients seeking GP appointments with specified conditions are directed to a participating pharmacy, where they are offered a consultation with a community pharmacist who had undergone service specific training. The pharmacist provides self-care advice, and, where clinically appropriate, supplies medicines or specific prescription-only medicines (POMs), including antibiotics, under a Patient Group Direction (PGD). Supply of antibiotics via PGD is in line with local antimicrobial guidelines, and all the pharmacists who make the supplies are Antibiotic Guardians.

Patients receive a follow-up call from the pharmacist five days later to check how the patient is getting on and answer any questions the patient may have.

The service allows patients with the following conditions to be referred to see the pharmacist: bacterial conjunctivitis, bacterial sinusitis, otitis externa with suspected secondary infection, otitis media, chronic sinusitis, and sore throat; these were chosen because they were common local reasons for A&E or GP attendance.

What does the evaluation show?

The evaluation shows that a total of 408 patients accessed the service between December 2017 and March 2018 of whom:

  • 61% received a POM via PGD;
  • 15% received advice and medicine supplied under the common ailments service;
  • 9% received advice and purchased a medicine;
  • 10% received advice only; and
  • 5% were referred onwards.

The questionnaire was completed by 259 patients (response rate 63%) of whom 96% reported being very satisfied or satisfied with the service.

Further details about this service and similar services can be found on the Community Pharmacy England Services Database.

Gill Hall, Service Development Officer at South Staffordshire LPC said:

“From an initial group of nine, the ENT service is currently available from 24 pharmacies with plans to roll it out to around 70 pharmacies across Staffordshire and Shropshire.

Patients who have used the service have been really positive about it. Out of the 76% of patients successfully followed up five days after the consultation with the pharmacist, 85% have not seen another healthcare professional for the same symptoms. This demonstrates that pharmacists can manage the majority of patients presenting with these conditions and freeing up GP appointments for other patients. This in turn has boosted the working relationship between the pharmacy team and GP practice staff.”

*The ‘Evaluation of a new patient consultation initiative in community pharmacy for ear, nose, throat and eye conditions’ is the second poster abstract on this webpage so readers will need to scroll down the page to view this.

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