We have retail clinics to fill in the gaps but in the UK there's another solution of utilizing the pharmacist to take some of the patient visit time from the over worked MDs...the physician still does major diagnosing, but the pharmacist does the follow up and provides some basic care and last week the government is working on a plan to have the pharmacists be the first stop for minor ailments instead of the physician ....like there, they are limited to what they can treat, and need to complete additional education courses to practice beyond the normal realm of a pharmacist...the number of consultations is 57 million a year...sounds like a very large number of visits to be shifted to the pharmacist from the care of the physician...and the pharmacists may not have the same earnings I might guess as does the physician...BD
LONDON -- Twice a week, Stephen Inns sees patients with high blood pressure at his office in a medical practice in southern England. Usually he conducts a few quick tests, asks them how they're doing and adjusts their medicines if necessary. Inns isn't a doctor; he's a pharmacist. Letting pharmacists and nurses prescribe medicines, according to a policy statement from the Department of Health, is part of the government's plan to modernize the health system, by eliminating barriers between professions and allowing patients easier access to drugs.
He is one of fewer than 100 pharmacists across Britain recently given permission to prescribe drugs for patients and provide basic care, without relying on a doctor. The move is part of Britain's attempt to expand its healthcare system by allowing medical professionals such as nurses and pharmacists to treat patients. Last week, Britain issued a new government strategy to strengthen the role of pharmacists even further. According to the proposal, pharmacists will be the first port of call for certain ailments -- colds, minor stomach and skin problems. That will save doctors 57 million consultations a year, officials said.
Inns can prescribe any medicine (except controlled drugs like morphine and codeine) for any condition he is qualified to treat -- he specializes in cardiovascular medicine.