A new scheme called Pharmacy First is being rolled out across Bradford to help free up more appointments at doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.

It is aimed at helping people get rapid treatment they need for common ailments.

Pharmacy First is being funded by NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) so people can get to a pharmacist to get quick advice, support and, where necessary, medicines without the need for a doctor’s appointment.

Nationally 57 million GP appointments and up to a third of A&E attendances each year are used by people with common ailments or medicine-related problems which could all be dealt with in the community pharmacy instead.

Those behind the scheme say it will relieve pressure on GPs’ appointment schedules meaning patients with more urgent or serious needs can see their doctor sooner. Among the common ailments covered are athlete’s foot, a blocked nose, cold, a cough, earache, hay fever, a sorethroat, teething and thrush.

The service is available at pharmacies throughout the city and available to anyone who is registered at a city-based GP practice. Stickers and posters will be put up in the windows of participating pharmacies.

Dr Akram Khan, clinical chairman of NHS Bradford City CCG, said: “This is a scheme which will allow GPs and A&E units to dedicate time to patients with more serious or life-threatening conditions. It will also mean that people who have minor ailments can go straight to their pharmacy and get the help and advice they need without making a doctor’s appointment.

“It’s important to remember that pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can assist with many minor health problems. They can advise, treat or refer as necessary.

“I and my fellow Bradford City doctors are urging people to Think Pharmacy First!”

Pharmacists Atique Rafiq and Ajmal Amin are joint owners of Sahara Pharmacy in Duckworth Lane and have signed up for the scheme. Mr Atique said: “This is an excellent scheme which we welcome because it is an opportunity for us to work even more closely with our local community.”