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Why don't we have a universal minor ailments scheme?

'Minor ailments' happens to be one of the many services that were piloted here and there throughout the country then never extended by cash strapped PCTs across their patches. Lack of priority and interest comes first in answering the question 'why don't we have a universal  minor ailments scheme?'.

I don't think there are many contractors in England who know what has happened in Scotland, or that it has been a success. Pharmacists North of the border make use of the N3 link to enter data online for patients who are eligible to use the service, i.e. those exempt from prescription charges.

This speeds up registration while payment follows the patient about from pharmacy to pharmacy wherever minor ailment supply takes place. Theoretically this could make for earlier service payment. The good part about this is that the patient registers with the NHS so that registration does not tie the patient into indefinite long-lived relationships creating unfair commercial advantages. 

We should follow suit in England. It would make use of existing investments in technology; use existing software that has been tried and tested elsewhere and which overcomes post-code decisions by setting up a central system. 





The White Paper agrees

Para 4.25:
"The Government will examine with PSNC and NHS Employers how best minor ailments schemes can be incorporated within the community pharmacy contractual framework"

The evidence has been accumulated and the Department persuaded by it and the work of all the pharmacy bodies has seen this as an end-point. As to the "success" in Scotland, I don't think it has all been roses and you can't help but think that those lessons have been waited for south of the border...