With proposals for Pharmacists to have ever-increasing roles in the delivery of health services, Fylde MP Mark Menzies paid a visit to local chemists Tomlinson’s, located at 11 Market Square in Lytham. Tomlinson’s Chemists have been dispensing health and beauty advice in Lytham since 1850 and is currently owned by Pharmacists Ian and Anne Fleming, who acquired the long-established business in 2000.
Mark Menzies said, ‘Community pharmacists are fantastic and offer an ever-growing range of services, building on their unique skills and knowledge. Great to drop by Tomlinson’s in Lytham, which has been dispensing to Fylde residents since the 1850s. The team brought me up to speed with developments and some of the challenges they face which I will be raising with Ministers and NHS leaders. Thank you to all our local pharmacists who do such a superb job.’
His visit comes as plans are well advanced for Government funding to NHS England to facilitate staff in high street pharmacies to spot signs of cancer as part of a new drive to catch tumours early when they are easier to treat, Customers will then be sent for scans and other checks under the initiative, which is being trialled by pharmacies as part of radical NHS action that also includes roaming liver scan trucks and a targeted genetic testing programme. The NHS Long Term Plan committed to increasing the proportion of cancers caught early, when they are easier to treat, from half to three in four.
This community pharmacy pilot, to be carried out in areas across the country, will see staff spot signs of cancer in people who might not have noticed symptoms. Those with symptoms including a cough that lasts for three weeks or more, difficulty swallowing or blood in their urine will be referred direct for scans and checks without needing to see a GP if staff think it could be cancer.
Evidencing the ever increasing role of Pharmacies, NHS England previously announced last year that, ‘Every NHS pharmacy in England will be able to provide the lifesaving checks to people aged 40 and over from October 2021 thanks to a new deal between pharmacies and the NHS. Over the next five years estimates show that 3,700 strokes and 2,500 heart attacks could be prevented as a result of the tests and around 2,000 lives could be saved. Predictions also show that if 2.5 million people get their blood pressure checked in this way, an additional 250,000 people could receive lifesaving treatment for hypertension. The NHS began piloting the checks in autumn 2019 with full rollout now starting from October this year.’
NHS England added, ‘Pharmacists will case-find and offer blood pressure tests to people showing symptoms, provide clinical and lifestyle advice or referral, and record the data, joining up services and treatment with GPs and other local services, to speed up access to care. As part of the new contract, local chemists will also play a part in NHS smoking cessation services by offering advice and care to smokers who have recently been discharged from hospital. Patients will be able to receive support sessions over 12 weeks with a trained member of the pharmacy team.’