More primary care services in the UK should be made available over the counter from qualified pharmacists, according to an industry body.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) believes expanding pharmacists’ responsibilities will free up space in GP surgeries and ensure people get treatment faster.
The CBI claims 175 million days are lost each year due to ill-health, but bottlenecks in the system mean this is not being addressed.
However, greater use of expertise outside general practice could make a “huge difference”, as it will help break the link between where people live and their access to healthcare, the CBI added.
CBI deputy director-general John Cridland said: “Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being spent on a GP system which seems unable to respond to patients’ needs.
“In the 21st century it should be possible to have a doctor close to work and close to home so that we can all get on with our lives with the minimum disruption.
“Where provision of family doctor services is not meeting people’s needs, or in those areas where there are too few doctors, new providers should be brought in to help deliver what patients want.”
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