UK’s first “pharmacy-first” digital healthcare service

By Leila Hawkins
Well Pharmacy and Push Doctor have launched a “pharmacy-first” digital healthcare service...

The UK’s first “pharmacy-first” digital healthcare service has launched. 

Digital healthcare platform Push Doctor has partnered with Well Pharmacy, Britain’s largest independent pharmacy chain, to create a new service that will allow patients to be treated by pharmacists for minor ailments. 

Using any device able to make video calls and with an internet connection, patients can conduct virtual consultations with a Well pharmacist, at a time of their choice. 

A survey by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) found that up to a third of patients could be treated by pharmacists instead of their doctor if necessary. This new venture, which is being piloted in the south west of England, will provide over 50,000 patients with direct access to local community pharmacists via the Push Doctor platform.

“Through this partnership with Push Doctor we will demonstrate the central role pharmacists can play in providing primary care, prompting a shift towards a pharmacy-first patient mindset” said Seb Hobbs, CEO of Well Pharmacy. “The partnership provides an amazing opportunity for us to increase patient access to pharmacy services and ensure that they can fully leverage the expertise of these highly trained clinicians.”

If successful, it will be rolled out nationwide, potentially offering the same service to Push Doctor’s 5.7 million users. This will help free up doctor’s appointments for more serious health issues, easing the burden on the local NHS while demand remains high as a result of the pandemic.

“By directing patients to the most appropriate clinician in the first instance we can treat them faster and more effectively, delivering better health outcomes across the local area” Wais Shaifta, Chief Executive of Push Doctor said. 

“By fully utilising the skill and expertise of pharmacists, we will remove non-essential footfall for GP practices, freeing up more time for GPs to see patients with more serious medical issues. We hope this will be the start of a new pharmacy-first delivery model that will set up a future digital NHS across the country.”

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